If you deal generously with God and with others they will be generous with you. If you deal meanly with God and others, look out!

Monday, 2/25/ 13

Jesus said, “The measure with which you measure will be measured back to you.”

Sometimes when you buy a box of fancy crackers, and turn back the cardboard lid, you find  that the top third of the box is empty. You have been gypped.

Something similar could happen in Our Lord’s time. Of course, they didn’t have pre-packed grains and liquids back then. A merchant had to use an open-topped box that supposedly contained an even pint or quart or gallon. He would dish up the grain, filling the measuring box; then he would run a ruler over the top to show you that you were getting every mini-ounce coming to you. Those measuring boxes themselves were known as “measures.” They seemed to be fool-proof, but the Old Testament and early church law contained numerous warnings against false measures, and going along with such warnings were the penalties meted out to merchants who cheated. Through the ages merchants have been clever in devising false bottom measures. They used weights marked as 16 ounces when they only came to 14.

Of course, in his preaching, Jesus wasn’t getting into the grocery business. He was using such measuring devices as metaphors for our generosity or our meanness is dealing with each other and with God.

Today’s Gospel from Luke provides us with one of Scripture’s most exuberant images. It has you standing before the Lord, holding up the front of your apron, as he recklessly fills your lap to overflowing with his blessings.

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