…give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you. Luke 6:38
My friend David told me a story about a village that had just experienced a record crop of grapes, and all the villagers agreed to come together for a regional celebration of thanksgiving. The mayor requested everyone to bring a barrel of their very best wine; each one would pour his contribution into a large vat.
The day and time of the festival was announced, and people came from far and wide to join in the happiness of the tiny village. The head of each family brought his keg, climbed the small ladder, and poured his wine into the community receptacle while the people below cheered and clapped. The next person came, climbed the ladder, and added his barrel of wine. And so on it went. Person after person climbed the ladder and accepted the applause as he emptied his barrel.
One of the villagers, a rather parsimonious fellow, thought to himself that he would fill his barrel with water and empty it without anyone’s knowing that he had withheld his family’s bounty. He, too, was cheered and applauded as he emptied his barrel and made his way down the ladder.
The big moment of the festival arrived. All the neighboring villagers crowded around with their tankards looking forward to tasting the delicious fruit of the year’s labor. The mayor put the first mug under the spigot and opened the tap. And to the shame of all the villagers, the liquid flowed clear. Everyone had selfishly filled their kegs with water and saved the good wine for themselves.
David and I had been talking about stewardship and the joy of giving—that Jesus said it was more blessed to give than to receive. Paul went on to say that “whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously” (II Cor. 9:6).
There’s an old saying I heard a lot growing up, What goes ‘round comes ‘round. I suspect that’s what happened with that stingy little village. Not only did they miss out on the joy of giving, but they embarrassed themselves in front of the whole region.
Lord, we hear and read with joy stories of great generosity and the blessing it brings. Give us hearts that love to give so that we might bless others and bring glory to your name, the one who gave all. AMEN.