Remember that time I listed apple picking as my #1 fall favorite? If you missed it, you can read all about it here. Well, last weekend we got to go apple picking in our back yard! We have two apple trees on our property, and they're producing more apples than we can bake pies. In fact, there are so many apples, that the weight of them are breaking the tree branches. We figured we'd start by cutting down a snapped branch to see how many apples we could get. You guys, our basket was literally overflowing. From one branch! It made me think of this verse from Luke 6:38. 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.
God says give and it will be given to you. Not only that, but with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. He's saying that the level of effort you put into something, is the level that you'll get back. You reap what you sow. Treat others the way you want to be treated. Back in the time of the Old Testament, people would literally bring the first fruits of their harvest to the church as an offering. Not only were they bringing the first, they were bringing their best. Imagine the process of sorting through a large harvest, piece by piece. The amount of time involved to set apart the rotten or damaged fruit from the ripe and mature fruit. The heart condition of the farmer, to willingly give away the best of his crop instead of keeping it for himself. The logistics of packing and transporting the fruit to the church. You can see on so many levels why this would be a sacrifice. But with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
On that day of our apple harvest, we were the farmer. Our family picked the harvest of apples. We sorted through them to separate the rotten ones from the ripe ones. We shined and bagged the apples, instead of eating the ones that looked the best. We brought them to the church and gave them away. And do you know what? It felt good. Our kids got to see firsthand, what it means to sacrifice and be generous with our resources. And that day, we blessed 150 families instead of just our own. When God sees our efforts to share our time, talent and treasure with others, He's going to bless us in return.
What resources do you have that you could freely share with someone else? Do you have free time that you could volunteer? Do you have a talent that you could use to help out a friend? Are you financially blessed that you could pay for a family's overdraft lunch account? Whatever it might be, I challenge you to do an act of kindness today. You might be surprised at how blessed you feel by blessing others.