Monday, 25 June 2012

Matriarchs on a Monday - Hannah - give and it shall be given unto you

We know, from our previous thoughts, that Hannah gave her much longed-for son to the Lord.  She willingly, but sacrificially, gave her son into the Lord's service.  After longing for a child, for such a long time, she was willing to give him back to God.  

Her sacrifice, however, did not go unnoticed, or unrewarded.

"And Eli blessed Elkanah and his wife, and said, The LORD give thee seed of this woman for the loan which is lent to the LORD. And they went unto their own home. 

And the LORD visited Hannah, so that she conceived, and bare three sons and two daughters"
1Samuel 2:20&21  

After all those years of waiting for child - and, then being willing to give him away - Hannah is abundantly blessed!  She had no idea, when she so willingly gave her child to God, that she would ever have any more children.  For all she knew, Samuel would be her only child.  God is a generous God, though.  He wants to bless His children.  And, so, He gave her 5 more children.  Give 1, receive 5 more!  THAT is truly a multiplication in blessing!

When I think about this verse in Luke, I usually think of it in monetary terms.

"Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom."
Luke 6:38

Likewise, this verse in 2 Corinthians...

"He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully."
II Corinthians 9:6

I think, undoubtedly, that these COULD be applied on a financial level.  I have a blog post in the making on the topic of financial giving, and the responsibility we have to give to God.

But, I think that we can easily apply these verses in the context of the blessing that Hannah received, in recompense of HER giving to God.

She gave, and it was given to her - not just like for like, but "running over".

She gave, bountifully - she gave her precious child to the service of the Lord - and she received bountifully.

As we considered before, our children ARE something that we should be "giving" to God.  There are SO many other ways, however, in which we can give.  Thinking about the ways I can give has been one of these "Light-bulb" moments for me!

We can give time.

We can give belongings.

We can give money.

We can give effort.

We can give encouragement.

So many ways that we can give - that we can sow.  So many practical applications in the way we can give and have a generous spirit.  Some of them may actually be more of a challenge than money! 

And, we then see in these verses, just like Hannah, that there is a blessing in giving.  We are told that if we give, we will receive back - not only in equal measure to what we have given, but in GREATER measure! 

The Lord himself said,

"It is more blessed to give than to receive".
Acts 20:35

There is great blessing to be gained, by having a spirit of generosity.

Did you know where the illustration of "good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over" comes from?

I am reminded of what I do when I am filling up my Tupperware with my flour, and I am trying to get that last little bit, from the bag, into the container.

I bang it on the counter, "shoogle" it about, tap it on the sides, and press it down a bit on the top - to get as much into that tub as I can.

In the days of the Bible, when  a merchant was being generous and kind, when selling grain, he would shake the "measure" (or container) to get the grain filling all the gaps.  He would press it in, to get it all close together.  He would have it overflowing, to make sure it was filled right to the brim - as much as he could possibly give. 

That's how our Heavenly Father gives to us.  He is a generous giver. He longs to see us having a generous spirit, in order to give back what WE give to Him.  Not giving out of self-satisifaction, or to gain - but to glorify God, and honour Him in our giving.

How much incredible glory was given to God, by Hannah's giving of Samuel - how the Lord used him as a prophet in the land of Israel!  And, how much blessing Hannah then received, in the receiving of 5 more precious souls as her babes.

Let's give to God today, by giving to others.

We may not see a return immediately.

It may not come in the form we expect.

But, God will bless you, if you give to Him.

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