by Kim Engelmann
“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, NIV
It is an unwritten law of the universe that you cannot out-give God. When you do not give in service, you literally cheat yourself out of a blessing. This is not why we serve—to get a reward—rather this truth tells us who we are serving—a God who lavishly gives us all good things to enjoy and who pours His very life our for us with great willingness, almost recklessly. To hold back on giving is to stunt our spiritual growth. To hold back on giving pulls us out of the rhythm of becoming more and more like the Author and Giver of life Himself. (I think this is what the 12th step is all about.) Each day is a gift, each breath, every encounter, every moment of awe and wonder. All of it is given; none of it is earned. This is because God gives regardless of us and with great lavish abandon. When we live in fear, we do not give, because we think there might not be enough. When we trust that there is more than enough, because we belong to a generous, friendly, and abundant God, then we are able to give easily and relentlessly.
Ultimately, giving out of a sense of gratitude is a good thing. An attitude of gratitude is so important to cultivate, but it cannot be forced. The truth is that I do not feel grateful all of the time. I feel poor in spirit, impoverished, weak, and distracted. Still, I know that whatever my state, or my feelings, serving others is the right thing to do. The heart of the Bible is this: “What does the Lord require of you? To do justice and to love mercy [compassion] and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8, NIV). That’s it! When I get confused in my spiritual walk, I remember the simplicity of this verse and I go out and serve—I do justice and show compassion with humility. It gets me out of my head and into the real world that God loves and that I am learning to love.
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[For additional reading about service we encourage you to get a copy of Recovering Faith: Words for the Way. Volume 2]
- Do you remember a time when you served someone and received more from that encounter than you gave?
- If so, what was this like?
- How might serving others strengthen your faith?
- How does helping someone else help you get out of yourself?
- When do you find that it is most difficult to serve? What helps you at these times?
O Lord, help me
to live one day at a time
with my eyes wide open
to Your generosity.
Help me not to miss
the gifts You freely offer me,
but to receive them and take them in.
As I grow in my awareness
of Your generosity to me,
may I in turn become
an abundant giver and
server of others.