Do you want a life stoked with passion and meaning?

Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back. (Luke 6:36-38)

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Those of you who read The Upper Room daily devotional guide will have noticed we’ve been quoting some of the same scriptures recently. That’s no coincidence, as The Upper Room is where I begin this day’s leg of my journey as a disciple early each morning. From that point on the verse is often lodged in my spiritual consciousness and works its way to the surface many times during the day.

I particularly appreciate the tone of this morning’s saying (Wednesday September 4) from Luke’s Gospel. I like the way it suggests, even requires, a partnership between God and God’s people.

We all want to enjoy “a good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, and put in [our] lap,” but Jesus seems to be saying  that such a richness of spirit isn’t just plopped in our laps; no, it comes our way in response to what we give, the mercy we dispense, the forgiveness we share, the measure of generosity we selflessly gift to this world.

Washing a child's feet at Mother Maggie's Kindergarten in Cairo
Washing a child’s feet at Mother Maggie’s Kindergarten in Cairo

FAILURE TO THRIVE (Adults): I know a lot of people who struggle with the fact that their young adult children (and that designation can stretch well into the 30’s and beyond) seem to be stuck in a “failure to thrive” cycle that is not only robbing them of life satisfaction and keeping them dependent on their parents, but it also leaves them unable to move beyond self-interest and into a meaningful future.

Here’s what I have observed. Teens, college students, and young-adults who put themselves in situations where they serve others (ministry-teams at church, mission trips; disaster-relief, tutoring, taking care of those with special needs, Peace-Corps, serving at soup-kitchens, volunteering at VA hospitals, etc. etc….), and who do this with regularity and commitment, find their own outlook and future literally transformed.

And it’s never too late for that level of transformation. There’s no neat and tidy time-frame for, “Be merciful… do not judge… do not condemn… forgive… give… the measure you give will be the measure you get….” We can launch this quality of selflessness at 14, 17, 21, 28, 35, 42, 50, 67, 75… any age at all.

TRANSFORMATIONAL PRINCIPLES: These are spiritual principles Jesus is laying out. You want to thrive? You want to live a life stoked with passion and meaning? Don’t wait for some televangelist to pronounce your eligibility for “God’s Favor;” but instead follow Jesus, be merciful, skip judgment and condemnation, forgive, and give from the depth of yourself until you know that you understand what Jesus means by, “a good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over…”

In love, and because of love – DEREK

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