April 29, 2016

Giving and Receiving

Passage: Luke 3:11

Bible Text: Luke 3:11 | Speaker: Dr. Harold J. Sala | Series: Guidelines For Living | Jesus answered, “The man with two tunics should share with him who has none, and the one who has food should do the same.” Luke 3:11

Scientists have clearly defined laws that govern our physical worldlaws that have been in operation since creation. Those laws are subject neither to the ideas or philosophies of humankind. For example, Sir Isaac Newton articulated the law of gravitation, showing that the gravitational pull of something is inversely proportioned to the mass of the attracting object. The law of gravity has nothing to do with how I feel, or what I think, or whether or not governments should pass laws disallowing the force of gravity. It’s there and its force cannot be legislated or countermanded.

In the realm of the spiritual, there are also certain laws or principles that operate just as certainly, though they may be more difficult to define or illustrate. For example, one day Jesus talked about the law of giving and receiving. This was not really what He called it. He did not say, “All right, folks, today I am going to explain the law of giving and receiving, which is the key to getting rich.” Instead, He spoke in parables or stories, and often demonstrated His truths with incidents from everyday living.

Jesus defined a spiritual law that is totally contrary to human logic, yet what He said can be demonstrated as lucidly as the laws of sowing and reaping. If you sow seed, you will reap a harvest. What Jesus talked about, however, has been widely abused, misinterpreted and used for selfish gain, yet the fact that people have twisted and perverted the truth doesn’t change it.

Jesus said, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Luke 6:38).

A paraphrase puts it like this, “For if you give, you will get. Your gift will return to you in full and overflowing measure, pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, and running over. Whatever measure you use to givelarge or smallwill be used to measure what is given back to you.”

Strange mathematicsthis principle that Jesus used. Give away what you have to gain more of the very same substance? The interesting thing about this giving receiving principle is that it is not restricted to money. It also includes your time as a volunteer, your willingness to listen to someone, sharing your abilities and many other things. I will never forget the time I was in a tribal area of the Philippines, and after I spoke, the person in charge opened the meeting for questions. It was a long, slow and laborious task because the question was in Ifugao which was translated into Ilocano which then was translated into English so I could understand, then whatever I said had to be reverse-translated. It was almost midnight when the interpreter said, “See that fellow over there. He is asking, ‘Why should I who have so little give to God who has so much?’”

I took a closer look at the man. He sat on his haunches, a worn t-shirt on his back, and shoeless. I was taken by surprise by the question because I hadn’t even mentioned money or giving. Wow! What a question. It deserved an answer. I said, “There are three reasons. 1. Giving is a response of obedience to what God asks. Then I added, 2. It is a means of receiving a blessing from God which can come many ways (quoting what Jesus said), and then I said, 3. You can pool what you have and send someone over the mountain into the next valley to share the Gospel with them.

The law that Jesus articulated can be personally demonstrated. Try it yourself.

Resource reading: 2 Kings 4:1-37