When the mighty Durango came to me, I thought my ride couldn’t get much classier. The way it climbed the snow-covered hilly roads of Michigan was impressive every single time I got behind the wheel. Just seeing it parked in front of the house as I walked past the window was a continual reminder of how carefully God was tending to my needs through the generosity of others.
My old mini-van sat at the end of the driveway as back-up, despite being reluctant to start. But even though its transmission sometimes slipped, I felt a strong loyalty to this car that had faithfully driven me 100,000 miles without objecting, until now.
Then it came time to make a decision about which car we ought to take on our road trip to Florida to meet the new baby, since we plan to depart on Sunday. My caring brother-in-law Bervin offered his opinion: “The van might break down on the way, forcing you to buy a new transmission, and the Durango is a gas guzzler. We’ve got to get you into a different vehicle.”
Although I was willing to chance the trip in my mini-van, he had a good point. Before I could think about it too long though, I found myself hunting for a new-used car, “something reliable,” Bervin said.
Last night I drove into my Michigan driveway behind the wheel of a 2007 Toyota Highlander dressed in “salsa red.” The Durango has been returned, and the mini-van is on Craig’s List. Now when I walk past the living room window, I see the Highlander, and one thought rushes to mind: when God takes over, the results are stunning.
One of my favorite Scripture verses is Luke 6:38. “Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.”
I believe God looks across the earth at mankind in a search for people who are willing to be his instruments of generosity, and Bervin had made himself available. He’s given and given again to his widowed sister-in-law, not just willingly but in the Luke 6:38 way, pressed down, shaken together, running over and poured into… my lap.
In my Bible, taped onto the page in the margin of Luke 6:38 is a one-inch piece of cardboard with tiny words on it. I cut it off the side of a cereal box in 1994, a perfect reminder of the lavish generosity of God. It says, in print so small most cereal eaters wouldn’t notice, “This package is sold by weight, not volume. Some settling of contents may have occurred during shipment and handling.”
This brief explanation is a rationalization for why the box appears to be half empty when purchased.
God’s ways are the opposite. His idea is to shake the contents down until they efficiently fit together with no room to spare, then pour in more, all the way to the top. But he doesn’t stop there. He keeps pouring until the goodies inside spill over and are piling up on the table around it! This picture is a visual of the generosity of God.
Luke 6:38 came from the mouth of Jesus who says that our personal methods of giving to others (gifts of time, labor, wisdom, prayer, money, encouragement, good deeds, material things) will be what we receive in return. Once we know that, we ought to be tripping over each other to give, before someone else gives to us. I can’t point to too many people who operate this way, but Bervin does. The gifts in parentheses above are the ones he’s given me, and that’s just this week! I look forward to watching God’s “promise to the generous” be fulfilled in his life, to the max!
“You ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’.” (Acts 20:35)