"Give, and you will receive. A large quantity, pressed together, shaken down, and running over will be put into your pocket. The standards you use for others will be applied to you." Luke 6:38
I can give you a million and one personal testimonies regarding this verse above. Today, I will share just one. I don't believe we have been taught properly on the principle of giving.
First, we do NOT give to receive.
If our motive is, "I am going to give so I can get back." You need to stop right there. God will never honor this attitude. Please understand, we give out of an abundance of thankfulness for all that we have. We give as an offering to God and as a form of worship for the blessings that He has bestowed upon us. We need to check the motives of our hearts. "Each of you should give whatever you have decided. You shouldn’t be sorry that you gave or feel forced to give, since God loves a cheerful giver." (2 Corinthians 9:7) It is all about giving with a heart that is joyful and happy. Our heart must be glad that we gave. If we feel forced, then do not do it. You will never be blessed. Rather, ask God to help you understand this Biblical truth that will end up blessing you. Don't miss out because you don't understand it.
Secondly, there is something that we must do.
GIVE! Giving is a beautiful characteristic to have. It is much lacking in our society. Everyone is about themselves and what is in it for them. This is the opposite of what the Bible teaches. God's children are generous people. Their generosity knows no limit. It is boundless. They give unselfishly and they are not keeping records of the good that they have done. For them, it is all about blessing others. These people are simply kind-hearted and compassionate. Helping the poor is what it is all about for them. There is no limit to their kind gestures. They understand it and put it into practice. "Freely they were given and freely they will give."
This verse is not just talking about giving money. God has given us talents, abilities, and specific gifts that make us unique. What are we doing with our God-given talents? People say, "My talent is time and time is money." Exactly! No argument from me. Did you know that we are held responsible before God for what we do with our talents? Everything we are and everything we have belongs to God. It is not your talent, your ability, or your gifting. It was given to you by God. We use our talents to contribute to our world. It is up to you and me to look for opportunities to serve. We serve with a heart of servanthood to make an impact and to change our world and make it better. Jesus washed the feet of His disciples. Nothing is beneath you and me.
God in His word is very clear. When we give, He will give back. He doesn't give like you and me. He gives much more than we can possibly give. Let me help you understand what this means. In Biblical days, men didn't carry wallets. They kept their money in a large bag-shaped fold that was sown in the robe just above the girdle or cincture. This was the dress that was worn back then. So, when Jesus said, "Will be put into your pocket.." He was giving us a beautiful picture implying that we don't have to go begging for our needs. All that we need will be placed right into our pockets. I guess we can say, "Right inside our bank account." When we practice generosity, we will find generosity shown back to us. Jesus said exactly how much we could expect. "A large quantity, pressed together, shaken down, and running over will be put into your pocket." This saying was taken as an example of the measures we use.
We measure dry things like apples, flour, sugar, potatoes, tomatoes, etc. This was done in a very forceful way. They did everything they could do to squeeze, press, and shake to fit as much as possible. When we go apple or blueberry picking, the kids always pick more than what we can put inside our bucket. Then, the kids will come to me with more apples or blueberries in their hands. Once picked, we can't just drop them to the ground and leave, I have to squeeze those apples or blueberries in as much as I can, and sometimes it will spill to the ground.
It means to pile it up to a place where it will then spill over. Are you getting this picture?
Please pay attention to how this verse ends. "The standards you use for others will be applied to you." People never quote this scripture right. They seem to always forget this powerful ending. Somehow it is skipped and missed. The degree and quality that we apply to others God will use back to us. God is very clear, "Kindness to the poor is a loan to the LORD, and He will repay the lender." (Proverbs 19:17)
If we could just learn to apply scripture to our lives, we would have testimonies after testimonies of miracles, signs, and wonders. It is what I call a supernatural phenomenon happening on our behalf all the time. I live in this realm in my life, I know it works. I have taught my children the principles of righteous living. If they want to see the supernatural, then they need to step up and do what the Bible says to do. It is not about giving to get. That attitude is evil. We are to understand that we are to bless people. If God gave us something, then we are to share it. The entire book of Acts is about how we the church are to live. It is a selfless lifestyle. It is an instruction manual to the Church. How to live, how to conduct, and how the church body is to function. We are to help each other, and we are to help those around us who need help. It is not about what religion or culture they are. It is about helping everyone who is in need. When we do these things, the Lord will see it, "...and He will repay the lender." We are doing this not for self-applause, to feel so proud of ourselves, or to be a show person. We are simply living the life God has called us to live. There is no whistle or bells to ring. No cheering about how great we are.
I just love my children's attitudes. They are givers. They see a need and they quietly take care of it. They give of their resources, talents, abilities, and time. I love this about them. God has seen their little acts of love and believe me, God has repaid them pressed down, shaken together, and running over, in so much abundance that they had to give that which they received. I tell them, "Justin, Ellianna, look at what God has done in return. What are you going to do with it all?" They smile and say, "Obviously it is too much, who can we give it to?" I leave the choice of giving to whom and how much to them. I never interfere. I am allowing the Holy Spirit to move in their lives however He sees fit. They must have testimonies for themselves. They cannot live off of mine.
Let me share about my beautiful Gucci sunglasses. In January of 2019, I was at Disney Springs in Florida. I walked into a sunglass store. I saw these beautiful Gucci Sunglasses and I had to try them on. I already had other Gucci pairs. As well as Prada, Versace, Coach, etc. I really didn't need another pair. But you know the "new style." At the time, the cost was $595. My friend said, "Do you really need yet another pair?" I put the sunglasses away and didn't buy them. When I returned to Boston, I noticed one of my sunglasses was fitting tightly. I returned to the store where I bought them to have them adjusted. While I was waiting, the salesclerk said, "Your sunglasses are beautiful already, but while you wait would you like to try another pair on?" My kids were with me. "Mom, try those Gucci glasses that you loved." Of course, the guy said, "Oh which ones?" My son points them out, and the guy takes them out and hands them to me to try on. I put them on just because. The guy said, "Oh wow. You look like you belong on the cover of Vogue." I laughed at him and joked back, "Is this what you tell everyone?" He was offended immediately, He said, "I do not work on commission. I am here today to train the staff. I am a District Director." "Oh, I am so sorry," I quickly told him, "Please forgive me." He laughed and said, "I wasn't kidding. Please, pardon me, but you really do look gorgeous wearing those sunglasses. I tell you what, there is a 20% coupon today, but I will apply my personal discount. If you want those glasses, they are yours. 40% off. My gift to you."
All of a sudden, my mind went to Florida. The $595 just come down to $357. I was simply thinking about "Wow, what a deal." He continued, "I will apply another discount that it applies just for today. We don't ever give coupons on designer sunglasses, but I want to do this for you." By the time it was over and done, I paid $200. You understand, with tax those sunglasses would have cost me over $600. (Yes, they are real Gucci, in case inquiring minds are wondering.) That guy wanted me to get those sunglasses for whatever reason, he chose to bless me.
You see, what he didn't know was that I had used my $600 to bless someone. I didn't purchase those sunglasses because I gave that money away to someone that really needed it. I didn't care about the sunglasses. But God saw it. He decided to bless me with the very sunglasses that I had wanted and saved me $400 in the process. Please understand, I am just giving a very small example here. There are much greater things that God has done for me and my children. I am just sharing one tiny little one. My point is clear. I love to give when I can. I want to see the work of God move forward and I want to help those who are hurting. I want to live out the book of Acts. I give of my resources, but I also give a huge amount of volunteer time to the work of God. God knows that I could afford 10 pairs of Gucci sunglasses, full price, if I just worked to get money. But I don't. I give more volunteer time to the things of God than to work. God has been faithful back to me. I have nothing to complain about.
I am sharing this with you to help you understand that God loves a cheerful giver. Most importantly, it is not just about money. What are you doing with your time, your talents, and your abilities? There are plenty of organizations that depend on the help of volunteers. Giving our time and talents to God is just as important as giving money. Take some time to study what God has to say about this subject. Ask Him to lead you to people you can help and organizations that you can share your talents with. Trust me, as I run two nonprofits, we love volunteers, and we honor them. Go out into the world and make a difference.
Rev. Dr. Teresa Allissa Citro
Founder and President Thread of Hope