“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)
How much should I give?
This question gets asked more than you might think. You answer it when the church collection basket comes around on Sundays, for the Salvation Army kettles at Christmas and every time you sort mail from dozens of charities. Over and over, we make decisions about how many dollars to assign to causes near to our hearts.
The Bible doesn’t answer these questions for us. Using the Old Testament’s 10 percent tithe can be helpful, but it can’t live up to occasions that warrant extravagant giving. Giving requires purpose and thoughtfulness. Cookie cutter answers fall flat.
It helps to remember the measuring cup that God uses, the cup with the words “abundant mercy” written on its side. No matter the circumstance, God answers “How much?” with a mercy that bubbles up and spills over.
The wellspring of this mercy is found at the cross of Christ. There’s no depth of human depravity so great that it cannot be overwhelmed by God’s mercy. For “where sin increased, grace increased all the more.” (Romans 5:20, NIV)
This standard energizes our own giving. Jesus calls us to an uncommon generosity – the kind that goes over-the-top, that loves even enemies and that lends without expectation.
No matter how often we must fill in the blank for “How much?,” we know how to answer. We give from our abundance, then we give some more and then we give even more.
God’s measuring cup requires it.