“For if you give, you will get! Your gift will return to you in full and overflowing measure, pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, and running over. Whatever measure you use to give—large or small—will be used to measure what is given back to you.”
- Jesus of Nazareth
My friend Bill told me about a vision God gave him for me. He said that there was a free-flowing river of God’s provision, freedom, life, and abundance. I was standing right out in the middle and the water was washing over me.
He also said that the other picture he had was of him standing on the riverbank barely dipping his toe into the water.
I think about those two images often.
The embedded hope and longing.
The deep and powerful truth they hold.
Increasingly, the leaders I meet are exhausted, overwhelmed, and often discouraged. They are not operating out of an overflow, but out of a scarcity of resources. More specifically, the resources of time and energy.
All their faith inputs. All those books, podcasts, anecdotes, and testimonies of other’s success almost seem to taunt us instead of encourage us. They read of an abundant life and a few others that seem to be finding it, both personally and professionally, and they don’t really know what to do with all that.
It is as if most of them are standing on the banks of a raging river of freedom, margin, success, and abundance….
…and they are barely dipping their toe in the flowing water.
The unstated assumption in the encouragement of Jesus to give freely is that there is an abundance of resources available. There is more. More than enough. For you, for those you care for and for everybody else. An expectation that if everyone could operate with an abundance mentality and not a scarcity one, there would be enough available to meet everyone’s needs.
In much the way that Paul talks about, I have learned that scarcity or abundance is more of a condition of the heart than a physical reality. It is a posture of the heart and the way I am supposed to approach everything I have and not just what I have defined as extra.
The verses above talk about giving out of abundance and the fact that whatever resources are expected to be depleted, will be replenished.
We don’t have to hold and hoard, but share.
In as much as our mind goes to money or other physical resources when we talk about concepts like this, I think the way it most largely plays out is in the area of energy, time, encouragement, and love of others. If I am spent, weary, and not confident or fulfilled, there is no overflow for me to offer to others.
If I am not confident in my identity, certain of the way I am loved, and clear about my roles and responsibilities, my ability to offer any of that to others is negligible. And if my role as a leader is to clarify, encourage, celebrate, and bestow identity or focus on each individual role player, my empty cup is a big problem.
- Are you operating out of overflow or would you say that your reserves are pretty depleted?
- Does your life feel like you are standing in the middle of a raging river of God’s provision and goodness?
- Or does it feel like you are more of a spectator with barely more than a toe in the water?
- What is it going to take you to wade out into the “deeper" or the “more”? To risk trusting what Jesus said about abundance?