Daily Bible Reading - kindly provided by Premier and the Bible Society
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“Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.”
Saturday 27 May
The metaphor used here would have been clear to Jesus’ listeners, but may mean little or nothing to us today. Let me explain: at the time, a person’s outer tunic had a large fold in it, which could be pulled out above the belt to make a pocket. Jesus is asking people to imagine a huge amount of grain being poured into this pocket. His message is clear: if you learn how to give, you will receive generously in response.
Giving is the language of love, and is characteristic of all of Jesus’ ministry. He came as a servant to pour himself out for other people. This was what marked his ministry as he taught and healed people. Then, as he hung on the cross, we see the full extent of his love. As we walk in his footsteps, giving is still his way for us today. Churchill put it well when he wrote: “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”
Jesus’ teaching about giving runs completely counter to the materialism of our society, where the assumption is that acquisition is what really matters: more money, bigger houses, more cars and more luxurious holidays.
Jesus turns all of this thinking on its head and invites us to build our lives on generous giving. The reason he did this was not to spoil everyone’s fun but because giving is the greatest possible blessing. In his farewell address to the Ephesian elders, Paul refers to a quotation from Jesus that, interestingly, didn’t find its way into any of the Gospels. He said: “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).
There are many ways of giving - and many of them are tokenistic. We give a little gift because it seems the right thing to do, but we hardly notice that it has gone. Jesus is calling us not to give occasional, little gifts, but to live a life of giving. That is the way of being truly alive and knowing God’s blessings to the full.
In what ways have you experienced the blessing of giving?
Lord God, thank you for your incredible generosity to me. Teach me how to make giving a way of life. Amen
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