The very popular text from Luke 6:38 reads, “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.” (NIV)
I have heard this verse used many times to squeeze and manipulate money from people by assuring them that if they give a lot of money, they will get back a lot of money… or something like that. If this doesn’t work we might hear the threat of quoting Malachi 3:8, “Don’t rob God.” If you don’t give you are robbing God and stealing from the storehouse (the storehouse is transposed into the church). This kind of teaching and emphasis produces tithers, not givers; legal thinking, not liberated thinking; performance, not pleasure.
I have personally believed for many years that the Luke 6:38 scripture could be talking about money but it probably isn’t. It is more likely talking about a way to live as a continuation from verses 36-37, “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. 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.”
Jesus is teaching by comparative reciprocal verse: Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Love and you will receive love. Be kind and kindness will come back to you. Be angry and anger will be dumped in our lap and running over. If we are suspicious, others will hold us suspect. If we are resentful, we will be resented. However we live and give our lives is how it is given back to us.
“Give away your life; you’ll find life given back, but not merely given back—given back with bonus and blessing. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity.” Jesus (The Message translation)