The overflowing container

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

I’m a teacher.  My mum was also a teacher.  She still takes great delight in recounting a story of when she was doing a day of supply teaching at my school when I was little.  (I stress – very little!)

We were doing a practical investigation into volume.  We had various containers which we filled up with water, and we had to say whether the water would go into other containers.  I had a large jug of water, and my mum asked if the water would fit into the smaller container.  I said of course it would, to which my mum asked me if I was sure.  When I said I was, she suggested I try pouring it into the other container to find out.  I did and as my mum was expecting, it overflowed.  I kept pouring however.  When my mum questioned me, I said that the water filled the container.  I had a slightly different understanding of the question to my mum, clearly!  She thought I was being stupid, but I still think I was being very clever!

In today’s verse, it is clear that God is tremendously generous to his people.  Just as I overflowed the container when I poured the water in, so God’s gifts to us will overflow when he gives them to us.  All we have to do is show the same generosity to those around us.  If we show the love of God to all we encounter in a practical way, God will more than match the love we show to other people with his love for us.

God’s love is a bit like the pick and mix I buy from WHSmith.  It is sold per cup rather than by weight, and so I always press the sweets down to compress them as much as I can.  I drop in smaller sweets and shake the cup around to fill any gaps that might be left.  Ultimately, though, I have to get the plastic lid onto the cup.  There is no lid as far as God’s love for us is concerned, though; once we are filled, God allows it to overflow and pour all around us.

Finally in this verse, Jesus tells us that with the measure we use, it will be measured for us.  If we are generous and loving to those around us, God will reward us.  His generosity knows no bounds.

Just remember how generous God is to us – and how important it is for us to show that same love to those that we encounter.

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