“Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” – Luke 6:38
Most of us, Christian or otherwise, are familiar with the above statement made by Jesus.
It’s also been made on many a pulpit, sometimes with good intentions and sometimes without.
This will be one of the times with the good intentions.
Beyond studying the Bible, my forays into scientific studies and other traditions have yielded some interesting information which may help give us an expanded understanding of this concept.
Let’s take a look at them today.
First of all, I must disclose that I am a Christian believer, although the point of this post is not to set out to convince you to be the same.
In fact, I am going to set out to discuss how I have found parallels of this statement of Jesus’s in two “secular” disciplines which may give greater understanding to Christians and non-Christians alike.
You do not have to believe the same as I do to receive benefits from my writings.
So let’s get started.
The Law of Attraction
After studying many of the principles of the law of attraction, it is no surprise to me that so many Christians have found a home in its community.
Look no further than Mark 11:24:
” Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.”
This verse pretty effectively sums up the entire law of attraction, does it not?
Hopefully I didn’t cost anybody any book sales by saying that, but it really is true.
Now, if you are a law of attraction believer, how does this apply to giving and receiving?
Well, first of all there is the obvious. If you believe that by giving you will attract receiving, then there is your “code”.
But there is a second, little-talked about aspect to this that may be more important. This is where the science comes in.
But before we get to the science, let’s talk about what many refer to as…
The Cheerful Giver
Perhaps you’ve heard of the “prosperity gospel”.
If you haven’t, there are many ministers who have taught extensively based around the first verse mentioned in this article.
While the verse is a truth of the Bible, oftentimes ministers have misused it in developing their entire sermons and ministries around it with the intention of utilizing it to secure contributions from their followers.
Not all have done this, for sure, but many have.
The one very important element the prosperity gospel often overlooks, made susceptible by its very nature, is the importance of being what some call a “cheerful giver”.
“So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.” – 2 Corinthians 9:7
While the prosperity gospel may encourage those to give, it usually does so with an intention to receive. This would be of necessity, or for a purpose other than “cheer”.
If you believe the words of Jesus in Luke 6:38, mentioned at the beginning of this article, intent certainly matters. Jesus plainly states that we receive the measure by which we give. So, if we do not give cheerfully or out of abundance, what can we expect in return?
If you are a law of attraction practitioner, intent also matters. What is your mindset if you are not giving out of “cheer”, but rather with the intention of receiving?
My feeling is there is not a mindset of abundance occurring there, but rather one of lack that is looking for a tool to use to get out of lack.
When one truly believes in abundance, the giving is most likely cheerful in nature, where an expectation of abundance might exist due to having achieved an abundance mindset. This stands in contrast to giving as a way of engineering abundance to then acquire an abundance mindset.
But what about the science?
If you’ve been here before, you know I love to see what the scientific research says about things, whenever possible.
And, in an astounding fashion, we do have scientific discoveries in this area which place a unique lens over the whole thing.
Scientific research has found that, not only are the same pleasure-related centers of the brain activated by both giving and receiving (1), some brain benefits have actually been found to be greater when giving than receiving (2).
So how does this help shape our understanding of giving and receiving?
Well, while it may be true (and I personally believe it is) that giving from a cheerful heart will ultimately attract receipt of the same goodness, shaken together and running over as Jesus said, it appears that we also receive immediately when we give, via the pleasure centers of our brains in addition to reduced stress.
When we give, in our minds we are literally the ones who are receiving at that moment in time.
And receiving more on top of it all.
And this does not only pertain to money, mind you, even though that is what is focused on the most in this area. It applies to anything you can give, which at almost all times is more valuable than money.
Perhaps a kind word, a compliment, reassuring comfort, etc. Things that are free can be just as valuable, and are usually more valuable, than anything monetary, so we should not limit our thinking.
In fact, Jesus never mentioned money in verse 38. Only that with the measure we use it will be measured back to us.
So perhaps that is the real lesson we should take away here. It’s not about the money, although it can be. It’s really about how we treat other people and live our lives.
If we treat other people with kindness, love, and respect, and it is genuine (such as in the case of the cheerful giver), perhaps that is what we can expect in return, shaken together and running over.
And, if we truly are a cheerful giver, the scientific research also tells us that this is true. That we immediately receive these benefits, even greater than those to whom we give, just by virtue of being who we are – a cheerful giver.
And, if this is truly who you are, then the law of attraction tells you that you have achieved the abundance mindset. And, if the principles of the law of attraction are true, then you would attract abundance rather than lack.
I guess, at the end of the day, no matter what you believe, this world turns out to be a much better place and our lives more abundant when we treat people well and find enjoyment in doing so.
P.S. – You may have noticed references to contributing to me on this page and website. The purpose of this article is not to encourage contributions to me personally. As always, anyone who chooses to do so out of a cheerful heart is much appreciated.
I also do not maintain that you must contribute to me financially in order to become wealthy and make no assertion that you will become wealthy if you do choose to do so. Each person should give as he/she feels led, either by the Lord or by their own hearts, to whomever or whatever they feel led to give to.