Here, Jesus is speaking about the standard we use to either judge and condemn people or forgive and share with others. For not only in the verse prior to this one but elsewhere in the Gospels we hear Jesus speaking about our accountability. In Matthew 7:2 Jesus exhorts us by saying, “For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” So with the same measure or standard we use to evaluate the worth of someone… it will be used to evaluate us. But in contrast, the measure or proportion we use to forgive and contribute to the needs of others…it will be used to bless us.
For most people, when they read this verse, they think it’s all about money or material possessions. But I would challenge you today to be generous with yourself. It means blessing others with your smile and giving them the gift of a cheerful heart. It means seeking out the good in someone, and then of affirming and encouraging that good. For when you sow generously of yourself…others can not help but see the outer reflection of an inner attitude of Christ’s love.
We see a need…the Holy Spirit nudges us to give, whether that be our money, time, or talents…but we resist, make excuses, or just plain say, “No way!” The very greatest thing we can learn from this Proverb is to not repress a generous impulse. For when we silence that compulsion to be unselfish…we are denying others and ourselves a blessing. We are stopping God from using us to further His Kingdom work…and we are depriving ourselves of His favor. So don’t suppress a generous impulse when it happens…for the Lord is depending on you to fill that specific need.
Giving…whether it be money, time or talents is a real stumbling block for many Christians. We tend to be a selfish, self-centered people…when the Lord wants us to be generous. We want to be recognized and honored for anything we do…when the Lord requires discretion. (Matthew 6:1-4) We give the Lord left-overs…rather than, like the poor widow, giving all we have.
As Believers we are called to be a generous people…and this was displayed vividly this morning in Church. Our Pastor announced that as we left each family would be receiving a plain white envelope with cash inside ranging from $20- $100. We were to consider this a starting point to bless others during this holiday season. The Lord has called all of us to be missional…reaching outside the Church walls to help others. For we are to be His ambassadors… shining His light, expanding His Kingdom, and seeking to leave an eternal impact on our community and world. (A direct quote from the note enclosed in the envelope.) As I hold this bill in my hand, I know the Lord will not only direct us as to how much we are to add to it, but who we should bless with it.
The other day I helped at the local Food Pantry organizing all the donated food that’s coming in this time of the year from the many food drives going on… there was a mountain of food to find a place for. It struck me how willingly and joyfully the people of this area are in donating to this great cause…and because of their generous nature, many will have food on their tables this holiday season. We can’t be tight-fisted, just giving the bare minimum of what we have to others…for it’s really not ours in the first place…the Lord has blessed us with it. Instead, we need to be happy and glad to give, for it tells us in II Corinthians 9:7, “God loves a cheerful giver.” This Scripture shows us that they gave generously of all they had, not holding back but giving with a open hand and a big heart. I pray we may become that type of people.