by Tad Lindley
The sister was testifying in church. She was meaning to quote Psalm 51:7 which says, Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Either her tang got toungled, or somewhere between my eardrum and my brain the syllables got crossed and I heard her boldly proclaim, “The scripture says, ‘Cleanse me with hippos, and I will be clean!” Taking a bath with hippopotamuses, now that’s living dangerous.
Another time I had what I thought was a good lesson on giving in my Sunday school class. The key verse was Luke 6:38, Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. I had my students illustrate the verse breaking it down into the four parts, 1. a good measure (a generous amount), 2. pressed down (because it is so generous it has to be squeezed into the container), 3. shaken together (to get all the extra space out so that you can get even more in), and 4. running over (after all that it still is overflowing the container).
Hit and run
I had the students hang their drawings of Luke 6:38 up on the wall in the classroom. Apparently I hadn’t watched their work close enough, because about six months later something caught my eye as I was passing the Luke 6:38 drawings. A couple of the drawings were spot on in all ways except for the fourth part. Where I expected to see a container overflowing with good things, instead there was a guy getting plowed over by a truck. What I thought had been a great lesson about the blessings of God had apparently hadn’t delivered correctly.
Are you scared of getting run over?
It left me feeling like I had failed as a Sunday school teacher, but it did leave me with a great insight. Many of us live our lives as if the “running over” part of Luke 6:38 was a curse and not a blessing. We get scared to give, because it might destroy us financially. We get the PFD and spend it all on ourselves. We get a paycheck and give God what is left, not what is right. If we have a Quest card, we spend every last dime on food for ourselves. We know that the Bible teaches us to give the first tenth to God, and yet we tell ourselves, I just can’t afford to tithe right now.
The love of money
We would never dream of going hunting or fishing and not sharing our catch with our pastor and elders and widows and extended family, but somehow money changes our attitude. Jesus knew this, that’s why he didn’t say, “The love of moose meat is the root of all evil.” He didn’t say, “The love of dried tomcods is the root of all evil.” Most people give away way, way more than 10% of their catch. No, Jesus said, For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. (I Timothy 6:10)
Running over or run over, you choose
Notice in I Timothy 6:10 that Jesus describes the consequence of being stingy toward God: they have erred from the faith and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. That is getting run over. On the other hand, if we are generous financially, if we tithe, and offer, and help others, the scripture promises that what we give out will return to us. Not only that, but it will come back to you in a good measure, one that is pressed down, shaken together, and running over (as in overflowing). The choice is yours, how would you like your finances, run over or running over?
Tad Lindley is a minister at the Bethel United Pentecostal Church.