The Rewards of a Generous Life

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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“Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back."

Luke 6:38

In Luke 6, Jesus has been instructing his followers—including you and —me in kingdom living. In particular, we are to love extravagantly, loving even our enemies by praying for them and doing good to them.

Verse 37 adds another imperative: “Do not judge others.” This does not mean we should never evaluate the actions of others from a moral point of view. We are, in fact, to discern right from wrong. But even if someone does wrong, we are not to condemn that person. Rather, we are to forgive the one who has wronged us.

In verse 38, Jesus calls us simply to “give.” Surely we are to give of our financial means. But generosity should be the mark of a Christian beyond sharing of wealth. We give by forgiving. We give by helping. We give by opening our hearts and homes to others. We give by using our gifts for the sake of the Christian community. We give by sharing with others all that God has so richly given to us. Thus, we become conduits for the blessings of God, those through whom God gives to others.

According to Jesus, there are rich rewards for a generous life. Not only do others benefit from our giving, but so do we. “Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap” (6:38). Here, Jesus employs an image from common life in his day. Picture a woman wishing to carry grain to her kitchen. She might put it in her “lap,” a large pocket in the front of her garment. In order to get as much as possible into her lap, the woman would shake the grain so that it might settle.

Jesus says that if we give, we will receive back not only what we have given, but far more. This may mean that we will receive the same sort of substance we have given away. When we love, we may be loved in return. When we give financially, we may be blessed with additional income. But even if what we receive is not the same in kind as what we give, nevertheless, we will receive generously from the hand of God.

Thus, we give, not only because it is right to give, and not only as a response to God’s giving to us. We also give because a generous life is the best sort of life there is, one in which we are blessed even beyond the amount we bless others. As we share our stuff, our talents, our gifts, and our love, we receive the joy of a full life well lived.

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: Why do you think Jesus backs up the call to give with an appeal to our own self-interest? Couldn’t he have simply told us to give because it is right to do so? Have you ever experienced the kind of generosity Jesus describes, either as a giver or as a receiver? How might you give away God’s blessings today?

PRAYER: Dear Lord, your call is crystal clear. I am to give. I am to live a generous life. If I do, I will be generously blessed. I will receive even more than I give.

You know, Lord, that I am not wired for generosity. I tend to think in terms of a zero-sum game, in which my giving means I end up losing. I am reticent to part with that which you have entrusted to me, especially my “stuff.” Yet you are teaching me, helping me to discover the joy of generous living. I ask you, Lord, to transform my heart, that I might be a spontaneous, lavish giver.

Thank you, gracious God, for all that you have given to me, most of all, for the gift of salvation in Christ. May I share generously with others what you have entrusted to me. Amen.