The second greatest commandment Jesus gave us is to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt 22:39). When I stop to think of the things that I do to care for myself, I have to ask myself if I continuously give to others with the same measure. While many times I do, the truth is that I don’t always. I become wrapped up in my own things to do, and become thoughtless.
I’ve been learning more of the pathways in my neighborhood recently because I’m putting feet to pavement. My neighborhood is made up of a lot of twisty lanes, a few straitaways, and many cul-de-sacs. As I told you the other day, I’m reading “Horizontal Jesus” by Tony Evans. In the chapter I just read, he makes an interesting statement: “God wants followers who are conduits, not cul-de-sacs.” He wants us to “feed” into others’ lives, and not be collectors.
The main Scripture for this chapter is “Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.” (Luke 6:38) I’m sure we’ve all heard this verse by “prosperity preachers” asking us to give to their ministry so that we will also receive money. But money isn’t the focus: “it” is whatever the Lord calls you to give – time, talent, love, money or whatever He calls for you to share – for His kingdom’s sake.
As the Lord calls us to meet the needs of others, He also calls others to meet our needs. And He calls us to give in an abundant measure. Tony Evans says, “In New Testament days, a person would go to a merchant and ask for a certain measure of wheat. The merchant would scoop out the measure the person ordered, but the merchant would put only about 3/4ths of the full measure in the buyer’s bag. Then he would shake the buyer’s sack to let the contents settle before adding the rest of the grain so the buyer would get his full order without any gaps. And then the merchant would press down on the grain to create room for more.
Jesus referenced this common practice to illustrate the abundance of God’s giving, and how He wants us to give to others. And He took it to another level by saying that God keeps pouring His blessing into your sack until it’s running over”, so that we have an abundance to bless others. We are blessed to bless others. But if we don’t share blessings from a pure and loving heart, the blessings we receive will be limited. “For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.”
As I go through my day today, I desire to be a conduit of God’s love and not a collector, remembering Jesus’s words: “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). I want to give and serve from a pure heart!