[forthright] Good Measure

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From: "Forthright Magazine" <forthrightmag@...>
Date: Mon, 27 Oct 2008 15:17:48 -0200
Forthright Magazine
http://www.forthright.net
Straight to the Cross

This week, we link to each columnist's blog or
congregational website. The editor blogs on his
personal website at http://randalmatheny.com/ .


COLUMN: FINAL PHASE

Good Measure
  by J. Randal Matheny, editor

A few years before my grandmother Burley Matheny's
death at age 94, I asked her what was her favorite
Bible verse.

She said it was Luke 6:38. In her honor, here it is in
the KJV:

   Give, and it shall be given unto you; good
   measure, pressed down, and shaken
   together, and running over, shall men give
   into your bosom. For with the same measure
   that ye mete withal it shall be measured
   to you again.

Though she died ten years ago this past May, the verse
continues to hold special meaning for me.

Because she was a giver who believed and lived that
verse.

Older cousins with longer memories than mine have
marveled at how she could set out a meal for
unexpected guests in record time, before the age of
microwave ovens and other modern timesavers. She worked
in the fields as long and as hard as anybody, then came
in and fed the hungry mouths. With real food, not the
prepackaged stuff.

I'm grateful for her life and example, which provide me
with encouragement for doing the same.

The temptation to stinginess is constant. People are
ungrateful for kindnesses given them. Resources often
are scarce, especially in today's tightening world
economy. Sometimes generosity is badly interpreted as
we seek to show it from our culture to another. The
return giving sometimes doesn't soon appear, and when
it does, seems less than what was given.

When giving doesn't seem worth it, when we dole out
that good measure and it seems for naught, Jesus' words
-- not to mention his example -- brace us for more
generosity, more kindness, more magnanimity than ever
before.

Our motivations must be bigger than giving in order to
get. Gratitude for salvation preserves the wonder of
grace. Love for he who sacrificed himself on the cross
marvels at the love of God shown in the midst of human
rebellion. The desire to give God the limelight (the
sense of "glorify") keeps us showing the impartial
benevolence to the good, the bad and the ugly, so as
children of our heavenly Father others may see the
divine perfection.

With those motivations firmly in place, we can give and
look forward to the reward, far greater, far better,
far more satisfying than if we were mere receivers and
consumers.

Politics appeals to our selfishness. Economics puts us
to counting our pennies and protecting our investments.
Society would have us paint ourselves as important and
popular.

But Jesus Christ is a giver and calls us to giving.

That's something Granny understood better than most.

----
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