Give and It Will be Given to You: But What was Given Back to John the Baptizer?
John the baptizer gave God his all. His father, Zechariah, was priest at Jerusalem sometimes in charge of managing the holy of holies (that’s where he saw God’s angel and was unable to speak for a while). John could have decided to be a priest as well and live a comfortable life where everything he needed was well provided for.
Yet, he gave that all up to be God’s prophet living in the wilderness and eating nothing but locust and wild honey—that’s besides wearing nothing but camel’s hair and a leather belt. That’s certainly a big sacrifice on John's part. Yet he did it.
If we apply how some modern preachers interpret Luke 6.38 to John’s case, what did John get in return for giving so much to God and his work?
Prosperity preachers and wealth lovers in church (and those who subscribe by the money value system in ministry, putting value only on things that make lots of money) say we have to give to God so we can get something back in return—in fact, get something bigger in return. They preach that to prod people to give more to their churches. And indeed, some who give money get back a lot more than what they gave. It works! So, the interpretation must be correct!
That’s how they think—if it works, it must be correct. If it doesn’t, it must be wrong.
But it didn’t work for John. He gave a lot and yet ended up in prison and even beheaded. He didn’t get any money, properties, mundane promotion, posh camel or anything like that. He even sent to Jesus probably wondering why he was still in prison when the Messiah, the Savior, had already come. “Are you the one to come or should we look for another?” he asked. So, what happened? Probably, John didn’t give enough? Or perhaps, he did it the wrong way?
Today, people testify how they gave money to church and got back a lot more—big houses and properties, more profits in their businesses, lots more money, posh cars, job promotion, etc. Or, they testify that because they’re givers, God is making them get more blessings. And they say it really works—give and it shall be given to you, good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over!
Then they tell others—you don’t get more because you don’t give more. Just because they have more money than you do, they feel they have become authorities on giving and they lecture you about it. Probably, if they lived in Jesus’ days, they would’ve lectured Jesus and John the baptizer on giving, too.