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 back to you."
I. WHAT WE HAVE TO GIVE. We have much that we can draw from if we desire to benefit and to bless our fellow-men.
1. Our possessions - our money, our time, our books, our clothes, etc.
2. Ourselves - our thought, our affection, our sympathy.
II. WHO SHOULD BE OUR RECIPIENTS. These should be:
1. Our kindred according to the flesh.
2. Our kindred according to the spirit - our fellow-Christians, our fellow-members.
3. Our neighbours, those who, as the nearest and most within reach, should receive our kind thoughtfulness.
4. The children of want, of sorrow, of spiritual destitution, both at home and abroad. There is a sense, and that a truly Christian one, in which those who are in the saddest need and in the darkest error, aye, and even in the most deplorable iniquity, have the greatest claim on our pity and our help.
III. WHAT MAY BE OUR INCENTIVES.
1. That giving is that act which is most emphatically Divine. God lives to give - to bestow life, and health, and beauty, and joy on his creatures. Christ Jesus came to give himself for man.
2. That it is truly angelic.
3. That it is the heroic thing to do. Men have been true heroes in proportion as they have spent themselves and their powers on behalf of their kind.
4. That it is most elevating in its influence on ourselves and, when wisely directed, on those for whom it is expended.
IV. WHAT WILL BE OUR RECOMPENSE.
1. The Divine approval. "For God loveth a cheerful giver."
2. The unconscious and uncalculated reaction that will be received by ourselves, enlarging our heart and lifting us toward the level of the supreme Giver.
3. The response we shall receive from those we serve. This is the recompense which is promised in the text. "Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure... shall men give into your bosom." There is far too much ingratitude in this world; more, perhaps, than we are willing to believe, until sad experience has convinced us. Nevertheless, there is also a very large measure of human responsiveness on which we may safely reckon. If we give to others, men will give to us; if we love them, they will love us. Do not even the publicans so? (Matthew 5:46). Even those whose hearts have been unchanged by the truth and grace of Christ will respond to genuine kindness. Patronage they will recognize and resent; officialism they will distinguish and may endure. But the help which comes straight from the heart they will appreciate, and to him who gives it they will give a free and gladdening response. To the really generous man, as distinguished from the formal "benefactor" or the professional philanthropist, there will flow a stream of warm-hearted gratitude and affection which will far more than repay all the time and treasure, and even all the sympathy and service, that have been expended. The generous giver will be the recipient of
(1) the regard,
(2) the gratitude,
(3) the affection, and,
(4) when it may be needed,
the substantial kindness of those whom he has tried to serve, and of many others outside that circle. And to these may be added that which, if its worth be less calculable, yet may be even more valuable and more acceptable than any or all of these - the prayers of the good. Selfishness often misses its own poor mark, and it always fails to bless its author with an inward blessing; but beneficence is always blessed. God rains down his large benedictions from above, and below men offer their glad and free contribution. "Give, and it shall be given unto you... for with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again." - C.
Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down.I. GET, GATHER. Are there not many persona of a very careless and prodigal disposition?
II. GIVE. Begin to give as soon as you begin to get. That will prevent the danger of a growing covetousness.
III. THE GIVING SHOULD BE IN SOME PROPORTION TO THE INCOME. I do not presume to fix the proportion. But I the more insist on the principle of a fair and just proportion, and on the duty o! the individual to turn the principle into practice. This proportion, however, will never be reached, or at any rate, will hardly for any long time be continued, except in connection with another principle of far deeper hold and wider sway, the principle that —
IV. WHAT IS LEFT IS GIVEN TOO. It is also true that we shall never understand really what Christian giving is until —
V. WE GET BEYOND WHAT IS CALLED THE DUTY OF IT TO THE HIGHER GROUND OF THE BLESSEDNESS OF IT. "It is more blessed to give than to receive," is a universal truth applicable not to money alone, but to the whole of life's experiences.
3. Life itself.The possibility of giving life, self, to God for ever. The certainty of having at length to yield the gift of life into the hand of God.
(A. Raleigh, D. D.)I. WHY SHOULD WE GIVE? It is our duty. It is for God's glory. It is more blessed to give than to receive.
II. WHAT SHOULD WE GIVE?
1. Ourselves. St. Paul says of the Macedonians that they "first gave their own selves unto the Lord." This will make all else well-pleasing unto the Lord.
2. Our time.
3. Our influence.
4. Our money. We are but stewards of all that we possess.
III. HOW ARE WE TO GIVE?
2. Unostentatiously. " Let not thy right hand," &c.
3. Lovingly — from a principle of love to God and man in the heart.
IV. HOW MUCH ARE WE TO GIVE? The Bible does not give us exact and particular rules, but lays down general principles by which we are to govern our conduct. We must not offer to the Lord that which doth cost us nothing.
V. WHEN ARE WE TO GIVE? When cases of need, objects of compassion, or means of advancing the honour of God or the good of our fellow-men come before us. The injunction of the apostle was, "On the first day of the week," &c. (1 Corinthians 16:2).
VI. WHERE ARE WE TO GIVE? That question may be best answered by asking another, Where are we not to give? VII. WHO IS TO GIVE? The answer is "every man" — the rich of their abundance, the poor something even of their poverty. Widow and two mites. "Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven."
(H. Whitehead, M.A.)
1. Our Lord did not say that men would do anything of the kind. We are to hope for nothing again (ver. 35).
2. Yet our Lord proposes a reward. Yes. "Ye shall be the children of the Highest." The reward, then, consists in being like God. Whatever else is mentioned in the nature of reward is not an object to be sought after, but a consequence which must needs ensue.
3. Among these consequences will be found a measure even of human gratitude. For if our Lord did not say that men shall give the good measure, it may also be observed that He did not say they will not. The good measure will be given, and even men will have their share in giving it.
(H. Whitehead, M. A.)
Sunday School Treasury.A boy, hearing the Rev. J. Wesley preach, cheerfully put a shilling on the plate. Twenty years afterwards the boy told Mr. Wesley that God was a good paymaster; for he was then worth £20,000, and had the grace of God in his heart.
(Sunday School Treasury.)
(C. H. Spurgeon.)
(Isaac Barrow, D. D.)I. AS TO TEMPORAL THINGS.
1. A good conscience. Sometimes the requital of a man's open-heartedness, and the readiness with which he has bestowed of what he has upon others, is furnished to him in the feelings of his own heart; and he herein gains a rich, abundant, and blessed recompense. Labour may have been sweet to him; he may have been willing to toil on, as he was gradually making progress to his object; success has been full of delight, as he gradually mastered difficulties, and looking back upon the way which he had passed, found how he had climbed to heights, to which his youthful ambition hardly dared to aspire. But neither is labour so sweet, nor its most successful results so delightful, as when a man whom God has prospered in his getting, has the heart readily and liberally to bestow. When he has gone to the habitations of the poor, when he has stood by the bedside of the sick, when he has ministered to those human necessities which fell within the compass of his ability to remove, then there has been in his own soul a far better requital for his expenditure, than if he had bestowed his money in any other possible way,
2. Gratitude of those benefited. The most prosperous man, the man to whom in God's providence there seems to be a larger than usual amount of success appointed, has no security; he cannot tell what a year, or even a day, may bring forth. His fortune may be laid in the dust; his riches may make themselves wings; he may be reduced lower even than he was at his starting-place. Be it so; God has not forgotten him. Then will come the very especial occasion on which he will prove, by his own individual instance, that the promise of the text is true. When he possessed much, he gave liberally; he was the friend of all who were in necessity; he turned no deaf ear to the supplications of the desolate; he was not inaccessible to the sons and daughters of sorrow; and in his own day of disaster, many a heart and many a hand are open to him. For whom is it, that a whole neighbourhood are anxious? For whose affliction is it that all are concerned? For whose renovated fortunes are all deeply anxious? Is it not the man who, when he was in other circumstances, held himself the steward of God, and because he possessed all things in charge, used them as one who had to give account. Perhaps it may be that even his temporal condition is restored; but, whether that be so or not, does he not gain a most blessed return for all his charges and all his labour, in that there are hearts which feel for him, and friends who sympathise deeply with him, and those in whose prayers he knows that he has a place?
II. IN SPIRITUAL THINGS. Application to devoted preachers of the gospel, missionaries, &c. Also to parents who have brought up their children conscientiously. Our own portion in heaven will be all the more blessed, because of its being shared with those to whom on earth we were helpers.
(S. Robins, M. A.)Galatians 6:7; 2 Corinthians 9:6). The world seems to be a great field in which every man drops his seed, and which gives back to every man, not just the same thing which he dropped there, any more than the brown earth holds up to you in the autumn the same black berry which you hid under its bosom in the spring, but something which has its true correspondence and proportion to the seed to which it is the legitimate and natural reply. Every gift has its return, every act has its consequence, every call has its answer in this great live, alert world, where man stands central, and all things have their eyes on him and their ears open to his voice.
(Phillips Brooks, D. D.)
Phillips Brooks, D. D. .It is a law of vast extent and wonderful exactness. The world is far more orderly than we believe; a deeper and a truer justice runs through it than we imagine. We all go about calling ourselves victims, discoursing on the cruel world, and wondering that it should treat us so, when really we are only meeting the rebound of our own lives. What we have been to things about us has made it necessary that they should be this to us. As we have given ourselves to them, so they have given themselves to us.
1. Even with man's relations to the material earth the law is true. What different things she is to all of us, this earth we live in I Why is it that one man laughs at another's view about the earth, and thinks him mad because of some strange value that he places on it? Three men stand in the same field and look around them: and then they all cry out together. One of them exclaims, How rich! another cries, How strange! another cries, How beautiful! and then the three divide the field between them, and they build their houses there; and in a year you come back and see what answer the same earth has made to each of her three questioners. They have all talked with the ground on which they lived, and heard its answers. They have all held out their several hands, and the same ground has put its own gift into each of them. What have they got to show you? One cries, "Come here and see my barn"; another cries, "Come here and see my museum"; the other says, "Let me read you my poem." That is a picture of the way in which a generation or the race takes the great earth and makes it different things to all its children. With what measure we mete to it, it measures to us again.
2. The same law holds good with regard to our relations to the world of men. What does it mean, that one man cannot go among any kind of men, however base and low, without getting happiness and good; while another man cannot go into the midst of the noblest and sweetest company without bringing out misery and despair and sin? Here are Jesus and Judas: both go and give themselves to the Pharisees; both stand in the Pharisees' presence and hear what they have to say. To Jesus these Pharisees give back in return every day a deeper consciousness of His own wondrous nature, a devouter consecration to His Father, and a more earnest pity for them. To Judas they give only blacker dreams of treason, a falser disregard of friendship and loyalty and honour. Take two boys in a class at college; two clerks in a shop in town. It is not good when either of them is made cynical, and sneers at the possibility of virtue because of the vice which he has felt in its contamination at his side. The true soul, with a character of its own, will learn the possibility of being good from his own consciousness, all the more strongly because of the vice that touches him. No soul, bad in itself, can really learn the possibility of goodness by mere sight and touch even of a world of saints, and no soul really good can lose the noble consciousness that man was made for goodness, even though all the world but him is steeped in wickedness, nay, in subtle ways he will feed that consciousness there.
3. The same law applies to the truths which men believe, or the causes for which they labour. Generous or stingy, large-idead or small-idead, appreciative or unappreciative of other occupations than your own; these things you will be, not invariably according to the kind of trade you are engaged in, but distinctively according to the kind of manhood which you put into your trade. And so with creeds. A creed must fill a man's character before it really takes possession of his mind, as the ocean has to fill a vessel with its water before it can swallow it up into its depth. You cannot finally judge men by their creeds. A man may hold the most spiritual doctrine, and be carnal and mercenary; a man may hold the broadest truth, and be a bigot; and, on the other hand, all our religious history bears witness that a man may hold hard crude, narrow doctrine, and yet gather out of his belief in it rich, warm, sweet holiness which men and God must love.
4. I turn to one more illustration of the working of our law — the highest, the completest of them all. It is the gift of oneself to Jesus. There are different measures in which men give themselves to Christ, and Christ despises none of them; but in different measures He again is compelled to give Himself back to them. See how they come! One man approaches the Divine Redeemer asking no Divine redemption, but touched and fascinated by the beauty of that perfect life. He would feed his wonder, he would cultivate his taste, upon it. To him Jesus gives what he asks, and with delighted wonder and with cultivated taste the satisfied asker goes away. It is as if a man painted a mountain for its picturesqueness, and carried off his picture in delight, never dreaming that he left behind him in the mountain's bosom treasures of gold which only waited for his hand to gather them. Another man comes to Jesus with a self that is all alive with curiosity. He takes Christ's revelations — for Christ does not refuse him either — and goes away content to know much of God and man, and what there is beyond this world. Another man comes to Jesus with a self all trembling with fear, all eager for safety, and Jesus satisfies him; He lets him know that even the humblest, and most ignorant, and least aspiring soul, which repents of and forsakes its sin, and seeks forgiveness, shall not be lost. Each gets from Jesus that which the nature which he brings can take. With what measure each gives himself to the Saviour, the Saviour gives Himself in His salvation back to each. Only when at last there comes a man with his self all open, with door behind door, back into the most secret chambers, all unclosed, ready to give himself entirely, wanting everything, ready to take everything that Jesus has to give, wanting and ready to take the whole of Jesus into the whole of himself, only then are the last gates withdrawn; and as when the ocean gathers itself up and enters with its tide the open mouth of the river, like a conqueror riding into a surrendered town, so does the Lord in all His richness, with His perfect standards, His mighty motives, His infinite hopes, give Himself to the soul which has been utterly given to Him. It is not enough that Christ should stand ready to give us His blessings. He must give us the nature to which those blessings can be given. What we want of Him is not merely His gifts; it is ourselves; He must give us them first. To them only can He give Himself, which is His perfect gift. Not merely with outstretched hands but with open hearts we must stand before Him. We must pray not merely that the kingdom of heaven may come, but that we may be born again, so that we may see it.
(Phillips Brooks, D. D. .)
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