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. -Luke 6:38
Yesterday we offered ashes in seven locations across our city. When we began this two years ago, we asked permission for every place we went, but quickly discovered it’s sometimes better to ask forgiveness than permission. No one said a word to us, even at the front door of the convenience store. But this year, I looked up and saw a security guard approaching me on his Segway in the store parking lot.
“You can’t be here,” he said. “Ok,” I said, “We’ll move.” Just then a mom with two kids came up to receive ashes and a prayer. So I asked him, “I it alright if we take care of this family first?” He nodded, a little unsure, then watched as we placed ashes on their foreheads and offered a prayer for them. After they turned to walk away, he said, “Is that all you’re doing here?” “Yes, sir,” I said, “Just offering ashes and prayer.” He laughed. “I thought you were selling something out of your car. We can’t have that. But you’re not selling anything?” “No,” I told him. “We are giving away ashes and prayer. It’s free.” “Well then, carry on,” he told me, and Segwayed off.
I am left with the question for my life as a Christian and for our lives together as church. Are we selling something? Or are we giving our lives away for free? When I offer care for others, am I expecting something in return? When I tutor our kids at the housing project, do I expect appreciation? When I put together a Bible study, am I hoping for agreement or at least good attendance? Am I selling something, or am I giving something?
As we walk into the second day of Lent, let Jesus’ teaching wash over you: Give, without measure, with no need for human payment. Let God be the one who pays you back, and you will have more than you can fathom given to you to keep giving away.
Open your hand and heart wide, Christian. It will both get you into and keep you out of trouble!