This week we are in the gospel of Luke looking at another one of Jesus’ commands that’s attached to a promise. Here He says, “Give and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measurement you use it will be measured back to you.” (Luke 6:38)
What is immediately interesting is that Luke’s account of this command is an expansion of what Matthew tells us in his report of the Sermon on the Mount. In Matthew 7, the text Ken Wagoner preached a month ago, the record of Jesus’ words is abbreviated. After warning us of exercising condemnation against another, Jesus says, “…with the measure you use it will be measured to you.” What’s missing is the command to give.
Now there are a number of reasons for Matthew’s brevity and Luke’s expansiveness, but central to Luke’s addition of the command to give is his understanding and appreciation of the link between our giving and our concept of and relationship with God.
Throughout the Old Testament law, caring for the poor was central to the faith of Israel. While many surrounding cultures observed dietary laws and purity rituals, what made the faith of Israel unique were the lengthy lists of commands to care for the least, the last, and the lost. Yearly tithes were gathered for the poor. Loans to the needy were given without interest. If debts could not be repaid in seven years, they were forgiven. If hard times forced a farmer to sell his land, it was to be returned in the year of Jubilee, which took place every fifty years. The God of Israel was unique in tying worship of Him with compassion for others. When His people began to believe that rituals were all He required, God sent His prophets to remind them that justice to the poor was His greatest concern. And this was the hear t of Jesus’ teaching as well.
However, Jesus goes further than the Torah and the prophets to zero in on the reason for giving beyond the needs of the economically and socially needy. He tied giving to God’s plan for redemption. And nowhere can we get a clearer picture of that than in His command to give.
We are going to dig into this command in earnest this Sunday by unpacking three aspects of verse 38. In a message entitled, “The Eyes Have It” we will hope to see the blessing inherent in this oft-heard command. In preparation for Sunday you may wish to consider the following:
- How do you define redemption?
- How does Jesus’ command in verse 38 obligate both the giver and the Lord?
- Read Matthew 6:19-24. How does “the eye as the lamp of the body” relate to giving?
- What does “the eye” refer to?
- How does the master in Matthew 29:1-16 show a “good eye”?
- How does Genesis 22:9-14 shed light on “the good eye”?
- How does having a “bad eye” reveal your view of God?
- What is the reason for all the descriptors of the kind of gift God will provide to those who give?
- What does Jesus mean when He says that the gift will be “put into your lap”?
- How does the incarnation prove all this?