Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Measuring Cup Explodeth

I have a verse in my head that I cannot shake.

Luke 6:37 & 38, “Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.”

It is a great verse and contextually it sits right after having love for your enemies. In Luke, that is all business. I can’t even begin to talk about that. I guess that I need to get some enemies. Before that, we have the Beatitudes, which honestly, of all of the Beatitudes Luke is the narrowest. He does not mix words and leaves no escape routes open. Still, these are not what I have on my heart.

In fact, I just put Luke 6:37 in for context. We are talking about judging here. It is pretty serious. How you act in the checkout line, goes on your resume. That’s right, brain rolls, eye rolls, heavy sighs…all of it does not look good for us. Eventually, everyone feels compassion for the girl who needs the price check because we are acting like a person who has no impulse control while we wait. Someone is always watching when we judge that mommy with the screaming kid, or when we act like the moral police and condemn, or, last but not least, in the walls of our homes when we act like jerks and refuse to forgive the people that we love. In all of these, we are in the wrong. We are taking liberties that only belong to our God. See how hard this heart stuff is?

So, we come to verse 38. Give and it will be given to you. This is not what caught my eye, either. I can appreciate it. The opposite of judging is grace. The opposite of condemning is mercy. The opposite of unforgiveness is forgiveness. It is a tough road, but we have to give these things first, in order to avoid our unflattering tendencies. That alone is convicting, but not what caught my eye and tickled my ears.

Side B of verse 38 actually says the words good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over…all of this will be thrown in your lap. It sounds kind of messy, but delightful; so, of course, I have to think about this. I am still basking in the shadow of last week and the recent blessings that we have experienced. I have come to see God’s blessings as so much more abundant than I could dream. I prayed for last week for six months. When it happened, it was surreal. My husband and I found out a lot about the nature of the blessings of God. I prayed big, but God made reality bigger. Such is our measure in Luke.

I can only associate this with cooking. I used to cook and then I took a sabbatical, and now I am coming back to the sport, out of necessity (marriage). I enjoy cooking for my husband, although, if it is just me alone there is no cooking. I think of a measure as a measuring cup. Now, as we know, in order to get a correct amount of something you have to press it into the cup. You don’t want to go skimpy on recipes, especially those which are a good measure. They probably include a cup of chocolate or peanut butter, and these are things that you don’t mess around with. So, we make sure we get a whole packed cup, not a skimpy cup in a good measure.

Secondly, I see that this cup is unified. It has been shaken together to make a perfect mix. God did not just give my husband and me fulfillment in one area. Like I have said before, the nature of God’s blessing is to perpetuate Him; therefore it fills many areas of our lives. It is shaken together to make this good measure contain enough components to multiply itself. That takes the perfection of a sovereign God. We could not have done that, or prayed for that.

Next we see that it is running over. I think of a cup of “soda”, when I hear this. So, apparently part of this good measure and shaking process has included a carbonated beverage. It is interesting to think of this in terms of multiplication. If you poor a “soda” in a glass, depending on the speed, it will either stay in the glass or overflow. God overflows, so we can assume that He is no respecter of our containers or timing as we consider a good measure. I can only assume from last week that He revels in giving us so much, at once, that it is just flowing in our laps. That is what it feels like, uncontrollable and overflowing…delightful.

So, going back to side A of verse 37, what am I giving? Am I selfish with my time, my heart, and my resources? Am I facing the world with open hands and an open heart? Am I afraid of what will happen if I live according to his commands? Will my feet stay under me? Will I care? Wow, these are such hard questions. This blessing came after six months of breaking and tears. Before that, it came after a year of sickness and helplessness. It was worth the wait, but I had to stop thinking about myself. I had to give mercy that He gave to me. I had to find grace that I depended on, only from Him. I had to forgive, and that was nights spent in my closet, in the dark, on the floor. It takes heart work to equal a good measure. He has been so faithful. It is unlike anything else to have Jesus sit so many hours with you. He wants to do that. He wants to fill our cups until they are just messy and running our laps. Delightful.

Father, thank you for your abundant blessing. Thank you for showing us the heart work that we have to do and the places that you desire to meet us. Let them merge together today for Your glory.

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