"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 (NIV 1984)
Last week we were out of milk, so I headed to the store with my party of five.
Even though we were in a time crunch, I wanted to make the most of our trip and pick up a few other things. Our family divided up—my husband went to the row of toilet paper, our oldest daughter walked off to get bread, our middle daughter headed out for fruit, and the youngest one, Kennedy Grace, trekked to the milk fridge with me.
Everyone quickly got what they needed and met back at the register—except my husband. At the self-checkout with my three girls, I scanned our items thinking Kris would be there any second. But he wasn't. As the line behind me quickly grew long and impatient, I wondered if I should cancel my order and step out of line.
But time was short and we were already running late. So in this unnerving moment, I instructed my youngest daughter to run and get the toilet paper from her daddy. She took off, found my husband, and secured the rolls under her arm. But, on her way back to the self-checkout, a sparkly cereal display distracted her.
In a calm, yet firm voice, I made sure my daughter heard me. "Kennedy Grace, come here right now please."
Now, she figured the fastest way to get that toilet paper to me was to slide it down the aisle. Without hesitation, she whooshed the package right to me.
The people standing behind me thought my daughter's idea was quite amusing. Everyone except one woman.
As Kennedy Grace giggled, jumped and bounced her way to the register, I knew this wasn't the time or place to have a teachable moment, so I just muttered quietly for her to calm down.
That one woman, feeling it was a good time to teach my daughter a lesson, said to me, "Well, isn't she something?"
I didn't want to get into a hot confrontational mess, so I ignored her and bagged my items.
But then she asked Kennedy Grace, "Why are you acting up so much?"
Kennedy replied, "I'm just tired."
And then the woman responded with a statement no stressed-out-momma needs to hear, "Well maybe your mom should put you to bed earlier."
What did she just say? Unh-huh. I gulped and took a deep breath, ready to blurt out something sassy.
But in the midst of this chaos, in the midst of this tension, I felt the presence of God hold me back with this thought, give her what you need most.
Say what, God? I need to give this woman a piece of my mind, is what my soul screamed.
But it was true. I need a lot of grace these days. Grace. Grace. Grace.
So, I said nothing. I extended grace. I smiled, grabbed Kennedy's hand and walked out of the grocery store, challenged by the thought of 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."
I make a lot of mistakes. I forget about important things. And I too have judged stressed-out mommas in the grocery store with misbehaving children. But Scripture tells us that when we give to others what we need, something very freeing happens: We receive what we need too.
When we offer emotional generosity to others, we create the atmosphere for God to do something powerful in us and through us. I don't always want to give others what I need. My initial reaction is often to give others what I think they deserve.
A quick comeback. A nasty look. An unforgiving heart.
But none of these things have ever brought me anything I needed.
As I continue to live this verse in Luke out, I'm focusing on other's needs and reacting based on them, not myself.
But next time we need milk, I'm going to the grocery store, alone.
Jesus, help me give to others the things I need. Make me emotionally generous and able to bless in the midst of a conflicting mess. Amen.
Reflect and Respond: Write down three things your soul needs. Is it joy? Hope? Love? Friendship?
Ask God for the opportunity to give it away and see what happens.
Power Verse: Philippians 1:27, "Whatever happens conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel." (NIV 1984)
© 2013 by Nicki Koziarz. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries 630 Team Rd., Suite 100 Matthews, NC 28105 www.Proverbs31.org