Boarding House Reach
(Luke KJV) Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.
I love this scripture because the first word “Give,” is what sets the rest of this scripture in motion. In other words, generosity on our part opens the flood gates of blessings to us from the Lord.
This seems simple enough except for the fact that most folks are born selfish and therefore are more interested is receiving than they are in giving.
Generosity on the other hand is a gift from God, which in turn makes it a natural enemy of selfishness. It seems that everything that God does is based on giving and everything that Satan does is based on stealing. That being the case, one could conclude that if a person is a non-giver it is because that part of their sin nature has not yet been surrendered to the Lord. This would of course keep the principle in our text from working on their behalf.
A few years ago I heard a young housewife teach on this scripture using a very simple demonstration. She came to the pulpit wearing an apron and holding a measuring cup in one hand and a bag of brown sugar in the other hand.
She filled her cup full of brown sugar and talked about things being full in man’s eyes, which are quite different than things being full in God’s eyes. She held the cup up so everyone could see that it was indeed full of brown sugar. She then informed us that according to our text, the cup was not full of brown sugar. She set the cup down and began pressing the brown sugar down in the cup with her fist until it was only about half full and then she filled up the empty space with more brown sugar. She repeated this process several times until the cup was packed completely full of brown sugar. She then held the cup high and said, “This is what the scripture is talking about when it says, pressed down, and shaken together and running over shall men give into your bosom.” The place erupted with praise as they understood that full according to man is not full according to God.
When I left the service that night I thought to myself, this simple demonstration by this little housewife wearing an apron has given more meaning to the generosity of God than all of the great theologians put together.
I think it is interesting that our text also said that “…shall men give unto your bosom.” This point proves that generosity attracts generosity…or God in you is attracted by God in me.
I suppose one of the blessings of being older is that one’s memory bank is usually full of life lessons and interesting experiences. Back in the 1950s it was a common thing for older folks who had larger homes to open then up as a boarding house. That was quite nice because one could have a home atmosphere plus great meals.
Even though all of my experiences at the boarding house were great, the thing I remember most were the meals that were served. Eggs, biscuits, gravy, bacon, sausage, or hot oatmeal were a typical breakfast. Vegetables in season of assorted kinds, fried chicken, roast beef or pork chops and mashed potatoes, gravy and biscuits and some kind of cobbler for desert were typical lunches. There never seemed to be an end to the food that kept coming from the kitchen.
This was obviously in the days before people were so health conscience, because everything we ate was fattening. Because most of the people who stayed or ate at boarding houses were men…manners were not a high priority. The men would reach all the way across the table for something rather than have it passed. Therefore the term “boardinghouse reach” came into existence. As I look back now it was quite amusing that it was an unspoken law that you had to keep one foot on the floor when you reached across the table for something.
The point in sharing the two stories of the “brown sugar” and the “boardinghouse reach” was to make the point that if man can be that generous, then how much more can God be generous.
Thank You for teaching us that the law of generosity on our part releases the law of abundance on Your part. We are aware that as we sit at Your table there is a never ending supply of blessings “pressed down shaken together and running over.”