“Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” (Luke 6:38)
I’m a wordsmith so I find the above passage in Luke to be extraordinarily luscious. It refers, of course, to measuring grain. When you press grain down or shake it together, you make room for more to be added. That’s how goodness and good things will be given to us; pressed, down and shaken together so that we are able receive so much more that it spills over the brim. What do we need to do in order to get such abundance? One word. Give.
We don’t receive abundance when we take. It doesn’t work that way. Nor do we receive abundance from our work alone. Sure, we may work hard, own a lot of things or even stockpile things for a rainy day, but that’s not true abundance. That’s ownership, which is different. Ownership has the tarnish of pride attached to it. Ownership is about us, our egos, our self-sufficiency. Abundance comes from God. It is given to us. Like the animals of the earth, God gives us all we need to live full lives. But we must give in order to receive His abundance. We must rely on God, not on own egos and pride. It is important to remember that the measure we use to give to others, is the measure that will be used to give to us. (Matthew 6:14 reminds us of a parallel lesson in that we are forgiven as we forgive.)
When we give, something inside of our hearts and souls feels so incredibly good. Our brains benefit as well. When we give, we set off something called the happiness trifecta. We release dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin, the neurochemicals that drive happiness. God created us so that our brains are hardwired to like and take pleasure from giving. The more we give, the more we get back, plain and simple. You can allow God to press down and shake together the good things already in your life so there is room for more, if you give to the best of your ability. You’ll have goodness running over, spilling into every nook and corner of your life.
F.R.O.G. Practice: Go out of your way to give to others today. Give in a bigger way than you are used to. Don’t just give someone money, really give of yourself; your time, talent, attention, etc. Can you feel the goodness filling up to spill over the brim? What does it feel like in your soul?