I love Johnson’s popcorn at the shore. It is the best caramel corn around in my humble opinion! If you ever go to Johnson’s to get some, they will ask you a question when you order: “Open or closed?” This means do you want them to put the lid on the container, or leave it “open”. Open means put it in a bag without the lid on and fill up the bucket to overflowing. Guess which one I choose every single time.
I think when we read Luke 6:38, and we read about a good measure that is “running over”-picturing the Johnson’s popcorn spillover is a good illustration of what Jesus means here. Overflowing. Spilling over. He is saying, give in a way that it “spills” over. Give lots. Give generously. Give in a way that you shake the “container” so things settle, and so you can “give” even more.
What are we to give? The context of this verse is Jesus speaking about loving our enemies. He is telling the disciples not to just love people who are nice to them and easy to love, but to love the “hard” ones. Love your enemies. Be kind to those who are not kind to you. He then teaches them not to judge others. He is reminding them to be forgiving of others. (6:37) If we consider all of this together, He is teaching us how to treat people. Be kind, merciful, forgiving, do not hold grudges and don’t be critical. We are to do this to the extreme-in a way that it “overflows”. Then, He reminds us that the way we treat others is the way we will be treated.
This is how God has treated us. We were his enemies. He loved us and gave in an incredibly “overflowing” manner when He gave His son for our sins. He wants us to now model what He is like. Who is my “enemy”? Who do I need to forgive-that I might be holding a grudge against or dislike? Who is not so easy for me to love? That is the person I need to ask God to help me to be kind to. I need his help to let love, kindness, mercy and forgiveness flow out of me and overflow into that person’s life. God has given us more than enough of these qualities to do it-we just need to be willing. Perhaps we could ask God to show us who in our lives we need to give in an “overflowing” way today or this week. It is then that we will see exactly how much God has given us to give to others. Overflowing buckets of caramel corn are amazingly “good.” So are Christians who are overflowing with God’s love to others, especially those who we might feel are our enemies. That’s what makes Christians an example of what God is like. It is then we are being true image bearers and lights for Him.