"Give and It Will Be Given to You." But What Was Given Back to Jesus When He Gave?

It's been a popular Gospel verse, a favorite especially of prosperity preachers and wealth lovers in church--and those who make money a gauge for success, even ministry success. Here was how Jesus put it:
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 to you. [Luke 6.38]
So they conclude, you're probably not a giver if you're not materially well rewarded. "You're probably not giving enough like we are."

But going back to the context, I find that Jesus was not talking about giving money to get back bigger money in return. It's not about how to get more money or wealthier. It's about giving favors to people--especially your enemies--so that you become poor in spirit. 

The poor and despised always have to give way to the rich, powerful, arrogant, boastful and demanding and cannot insist on their rights and privileges. So, instead of resisting powerful people they should instead give. In fact, Jesus said:
Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you. [v.30]
And then, if you finally have this selfless or giving attitude, it will given to you. What will be given you? More money? No, but favor, the favor of being forgiven, as the context implies. "Forgive and you will be forgiven."

About money and riches, this was what Jesus said in the passage:
But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort. Woe to you who are well fed now, for you will go hungry. [v.24]
Moreover, what did Jesus give? Did he give money to God? He gave his life. And what did Jesus get in return for giving? Nothing, except that he was abandoned by his disciples, was belittled, was persecuted and later crucified. He never got more money or a bigger house or posh camel.

In short, he got persecuted "a good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over." He never got any money or material possession. The same with Paul and the Acts apostles. What did they get in return for giving? Did they become rich or moneyed? Did they live a comfortable lifestyle? Did they have more material possessions?

Yet, to be sure, poverty is NOT God's will. God wants to prosper his people, not to enrich themselves, but to be able to give up all for his work. However, we see riches being made the measure of "success" today so that churches compete against each other. They think (even some church ministers) that the more money you have, the better person (or minister) you are. We see ministers changing lifestyle once they start getting more money and trying to live like the rich and famous of the world. We see wealthy believers showing off their riches just like how worldly people do it.

Thus, some pastors work hard to get more members in because more members means more church income.

But the Gospel says God has only one design for riches and wealth--they should be given up totally so the poor can have something--to equalize wealth distribution in church--which was what the believers in Acts did. No one lived like a millionaire in Acts but no one among them was in need either.

For sure, God honors his Word. If you are faithful with your tithes, offering and giving, you can expect God to reward you back. But you don't practice faithfulness in giving just to get more in return and later brag about it and use it as the world does. God will reward you back so you can give it all up so the church can do whatever God wants it to do.

[Click here for more]

No comments: