37 “Don’t judge, and you won’t be judged. Don’t condemn, and you won’t be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good portion—packed down, firmly shaken, and overflowing—will fall into your lap. The portion you give will determine the portion you receive in return.”
Jesus’ way is a way of generosity. It’s about generosity in sharing what we have, of course: our time, talents, and resources. I believe it’s about sharing our hearts, too: opening ourselves up to connect in deep relationships with people. Even more importantly, though, it’s about sharing this thing that we as Christians have but can never own: the grace of God that we know in Jesus Christ.
Jesus was often accused during his ministry of handing out things that didn’t belong to him: particularly forgiveness. He regularly ate with people others avoided, believing that tax collectors, prostitutes, and even puffed-up religious professionals deserved to know the love of God.
We are often tempted to withhold mercy, grace and forgiveness from those we find “undeserving.” Here’s the thing though: we don’t actually own any of those things to begin with. They are from God and belong to God, not us. They are ours to give away, but never to withhold. Let this passage be a reminder to live as Jesus did – with an open hand and an open heart, knowing that the portion you give will be the portion you receive in return!
By Joe Monahan
For Pondering & Prayer
If you would like to consider this topic more deeply, there’s a passage of scripture that further illustrates this point about Jesus giving away things that don’t belong to him: read Luke 16:1-8. The gospel writer puts the parable (traditionally called “the dishonest manager”) in the context of worldly wealth. But I believe the story as originally told was much more likely to be about forgiveness. Debt in the gospels is almost always a metaphor for sin.
Consider these passages of scripture and ask yourself: how willing are you to give away the riches of grace that belong to God alone?
Prayer: God, you have blessed me time and time again with good things that I did not expect, and frequently did not deserve: love, forgiveness, grace, and joy. Help me to freely share those same blessings with others. Amen.