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 give--large or small--will be used to measure what is given back to you.
- Luke 6:38 TLB
Before I was married, while I was still living at home with my parents, my father had a rule which said that as long as my sisters and I were in school, we wouldn't have to pay him room and board. I never liked this rule, especially since I suspected it was just one of my dad's ploys to get his kids to go to college. After I graduated from high school, I did begin attending a local college. During my second year there, I met my husband in one of my classes. Soon afterward, we began making wedding plans, and I decided to quit school and go to work full time. I reluctantly began paying my father the required room and board each week, which I felt was too much, especially since I needed the money more than he did. As my wedding got closer--and as my resentment grew--I began missing more and more of my payments to my dad. But he never said a word. He and my mom gave my husband and me a lavish wedding and showered us with extravagant gifts. Several years later, after the birth of our second child, my father presented my husband and me with a sizable cash gift to buy a much-needed car. I was speechless and I felt ashamed when he told me that, included in the gift, was all the money I had paid him each week before I got married. To this day, I marvel at my father's kindness and generosity, as well as his forgiving nature. He knew that I resented giving him that money each week, and that I gave it grudgingly. But he never held it against me and he gave it all back to me--and more.
When I disobeyed my dad and neglected to give him all that he asked for, I hurt myself more than anyone else. God used this experience to show me that when He demands something from us, it's ultimately for our own good. Jesus said, "Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy." (Matthew 5:7) He also said, "Forgive, and you will be forgiven." (Luke 6:37) When we choose to be merciful and forgive those who hurt us, we are positioning ourselves to receive mercy and forgiveness from the Lord and others when we need it most. Each time we decide to let go of our anger, bitterness and resentment, we are rewarded with a peace, joy and freedom that we could never have otherwise. Jesus said, "Just as you want people to treat you, treat them the same way." (Luke 6:31 NASB) One reason He gives us this command is because He knows that whenever we mistreat people, it will eventually come back to haunt us. When God commands us to give generously out of our finances, it's not because He needs the money. It's because He wants us to be partners with Him in doing His work and advancing His Kingdom on this earth. And it's just another way for God to bless us. Jesus said, "Give and it will be given to you." (Luke 6:38) And in Philippians 4:17, the apostle Paul talks about how our giving to others will be "credited to our account." We need to have the attitude about our possessions that David did when he said to the Lord, "Everything comes from You, and we have given You only what comes from Your hand." (Chronicles 29:14) Even giving others the gift of encouragement can benefit us, according to Proverbs 11:25: "He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed." Each time we lift someone up with a kind word or deed, we are paving the way for God to ensure that others will be there for us when we're the ones in need of a lift. The bottom line is this: God's not trying to take anything away from us--He's trying to give to us and bless us. He's not trying to make life more difficult for us--He's trying to make it easier and more abundant. I pray that today you'll get ahold of these life-changing truths and put them in operation to discover for yourself that "the merciful, kind, and generous man benefits himself--for his deeds return to bless him"! (Proverbs 11:17 AMP)
Prayer: Lord, remind me that I'm going to reap what I sow in this life. (Galatians 6:7) Give me an understanding of how I forfeit blessings when I don't do things Your way. Help me to sow seeds of mercy, kindness and forgiveness wherever I go. Thank You that as I sow generously--blessing others, I will reap generously--and with blessings!" (2 Corinthians 9:6 AMP)
- J. M. Farro