Luke 6:38 - Giving, but What?

 

This scripture is frequently used in receiving offerings.  The promise is that if you use a big measure in giving then you will receive in a big measure.  Let’s take a look at this scripture in context.

Luke 6:27–38 “But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not to take thy coat also. Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.”

Jesus is giving a discourse on how to treat other people.  He speaks about many aspects of relationships and then ends with judging one another and forgiveness.  He then makes the famous statement, “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.”

Did Jesus suddenly switch His discourse from how to treat people onto finances? Here is part of the same discourse recorded by Matthew.

Matthew 7:1–2 “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.”

The same phrase is being used, “with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again” but it is in direct relation to how we use judgment among each other.

 

If you read the account in Luke in its context, you will also have to conclude that Jesus was talking about the measure of treatment you give other people is the measure of treatment you will receive in return - particularly concerning judgment and forgiveness.

Look at the two together.

Luke 6:37–38 “Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.”

Matthew 7:1–2 “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.”

Jesus is clearly speaking about the measure of judgment you “mete” out is the measure that will be returned to you.  This is not even remotely speaking about money.  To say this is speaking about money is to take the scripture completely out of its context to make it say something that it does not.

In these scriptures, Jesus is speaking about the spiritual law of action and reaction.  Clearly He is showing us that the actions we take, together with the severity of those actions, will cause a return in the same way and in the same manner.  Jesus is speaking about behavior and not about money.  However, in the spiritual law of action and reaction, it is true that the measure you use in your actions will determine the measures of response.  That is exactly what Jesus is speaking about.  Can this apply to finances? Yes. Is Jesus speaking about finances - no!

Why is it important to make this distinction?

The Word of God is not some kind of “tool” given to us to use at personal will to accomplish what we want.  The Word is a person.  As a person, do you mean several things with each sentence you speak?  Of course not.  If you did, a good psychiatrist might say you need some help.  No, Jesus is not double minded.

The danger of using this scripture to solely apply it to finances is that you then do not pay attention to what Jesus said for the reason He said it.  In essence, you ignore what He is conveying.  Christians are obsessed with easy ways to get money but spend little time building their personal character.  Jesus is addressing character issues in this discourse and that is what He wants us to pay attention to - not money.

In every circumstance I have heard this scripture used, I have never heard the people exhorted to walk in love and forgiveness and leave judgment to God.  The character issues are completely overlooked and ignored.  Consequently, Jesus doesn’t get to say what He wants to say, or rather, what He is saying is not heard. Now that’s a problem.

Another thing to look at concerning Luke 6:38 is that it is incorrect to use this scripture specifically for finances because the Bible does not teach that increase comes to believers by other believers, or other people, giving to them.  Money does come to ministers by believers giving to them because that is scriptural (1Corinthians 9:11).  Occasionally God will lead one believer to give to another believer for specific needs, but believers do not increase in life by other people giving to them.  Ministers live off of the offerings made in support of their ministering to people but people do not live off of other people’s giving. Therefore this scripture cannot possibly be speaking about giving money and then receiving money as a way to increase and live financially.

Also, your employer giving you a raise in pay does not qualify as “men giving into your bosom” because if your are working then you are owed the money - it’s not giving.  It’s true that the raise may be the result of the favor of God but it cannot qualify as giving.

Believers are to increase by diligently applying themselves to what God has them to do in life. They are to work and apply themselves and God has promised to bless them with power to get wealth and to bless what they put their hands to.  God has also promised them His favor in the market place.  Believers do not live off of or increase in life by other people giving to them and Luke 6:38 says that “men” will give to you.  The thing men give to one another in measures is the way they treat one another.  This is exactly what Jesus was saying in the context. You give a smile and people smile back.  You extend your hand to shake hands with someone and they immediately respond.

Here are a couple of scriptures to look at.

1Thessalonians 4:11-12 “And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands , as we commanded you; That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.”

2Thessalonians 3:10For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat .”

I have never heard these scriptures used in a sermon.  Certainly someone somewhere has preached them but they are extremely uncommon.  People don’t want to hear that you should work so that you will lack nothing.  They don’t want to hear that if they do not work they should not eat.  Yet, those are also promises of God.  For many, the idea of giving and getting a lot given back to you is more appealing than having to work.

A good minister knows that the more people give, the more God will bless them in their endeavors if their heart is right.  God loves a cheerful giver!  God has also promised to bless the giver with seed to sow.

2Corinthians 9:10 “Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;)”

Notice that God ministers seed to the sower.  A sower is a person that by occupation is consistently sowing seed.  That means that this sower is looking to be a blessing in many places.

We don’t need Luke 6:38 to persuade us to give in order to get some extraordinary return.  Leave it alone!  Listen to Jesus in these scriptures and let Him speak to you about building your character. Jesus is far more interested in your character than in your financial prosperity.  We qualify for wealth and financial prosperity as our character is built.

3 John 2 “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.”

As we get our soul “right”, we are qualified for prosperity.  A prosperous soul is the starting point of prosperity in every area of our lives.

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