Sunday, July 10, 2016

Measure Differently

Measure Differently
July 11, 2016
James 4:2  ". . .  You do not have because you do not ask God."

"You have not because you ask not."  Wow, such a powerful phrase, a possible theme for many people's lives.  You do not have something because you have not yet asked God for it.  It suggests many of us haven't been asking for what we've been missing in our lives.  It suggests we should just ask for it and we will probably receive it.  Stop right there and starting asking God, we reason.  Most people who quote that verse however forget the second part of the verse warns we might not get it if we ask with selfish motives.  Clearly, the Giver (God) has to measure your heart first.  So, let's pretend your motives are right AND you've asked for it, what if you still don't have it?  Are you missing something from the formula?  Obviously, the formula for getting something doesn't always work out. Or maybe we're still missing it a little.

If you dive further into your Bible and search out another Scripture telling you how to get something, it says, "give and it will be given to you."  OK, this also makes sense, maybe we don't always have to ask for something, maybe we should just sow what we want into other people's lives and it will come back to us; the spirit of reciprocity is alive and well, we reason.  Maybe that also is part of the formula, or maybe that is a better formula than the one found in James?  I would suggest the two verses are more closely tied than you'd suspect.  If you read fully in Luke chapter 6 it talks about judging, forgiving, and giving.  It tells us that it will be done to us in the manner we dole it out.  But all three items are only reciprocal in context of the measure a person uses.  Basically if your forgive a lot, then you will be forgiven a lot.  If you judge a lot, you will be judged a lot.  If you give a little, you will get little.

Go back to the verse in James telling you to ask and you will receive (whatever it is you need: health, finances, relationships), and remember the Lord judges your heart and motives first.  God, being the Giver, is the one who manifests the same reciprocity in your life for judging, forgiving, and giving.  He says your measure will be used for you and against you in that spirit of reciprocity, sowing and reaping.  If He uses your measure, for you and against you, will He not use your same measure when you are quoting the Scripture "you have not because you ask not?"  Maybe your measure of "have not" does not agree with His measure your "have not." Maybe you have more than He thinks you need?  Maybe you have more than you've given, and therefore won't get more even if you ask for it with pure motives?  Maybe you are still giving with impure motives, just to get something in return, and therefore nullify your entire measure?  Maybe getting and asking are completely irrelevant unless you give without the idea or thought of something for yourself in return?  Maybe if you're waiting for it to come back to you, then you've missed it completely and will be waiting your entire life, no matter how often you ask the Lord for it?  Maybe your unit of measure is way off base?  Maybe you are so selfish, like me, that you can't even see you've been missing the Lord's point altogether in getting your needs met?

Your job is to forgive, judge not, give, restore relationships, pray for the healing and provision of others, all without hoping it might return to you, all without thinking of yourself.  This must be your lifestyle, your everyday job as a Christian, in service to others, without measure.  Do it joyfully and with consistency.  If you've done that first, beyond measure, then sure, be bold and ask the Lord for something in return.  My bet, though, is you'd not even have to ask the Lord for anything.  My guess is He'd already have met your need before you needed to ask.  Measure differently.  In fact, don't measure at all.

Don't take my word for it; look it up:  Matthew 6:8, Mark 4:20, Luke 7:1-2, Luke 6:32-38, James 4:2-3

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