“The measure with which you measure will be measured back to you” (Luke 6:36).
Jesus often used common sayings to show that morality was based on essential « laws of life. » We reap what we sow. Do unto others as you have them do unto you. What goes around comes around. Don’t judge others and you won’t be judged. He taught a way of life based on imitating God’s generosity. Loving everyone unconditionally and forgiving others repeatedly are ways to free yourself from the burden of thinking your judgments bring order to the universe.
There is some logic and fairness to a quid-pro-quo world, but it measures out love in small, calculated portions and makes it a competition instead of a celebration. We need extravagant mercy to risk life, to learn from our mistakes, to be foolish when folly is the wisest course. The parables of Jesus are all about this kind of foolish wisdom. Sow extravagantly, even where there is no chance of return and you will find good soil and an extravagant harvest. Share your leaven in every circumstance, and there will always be an abundance of bread for everyone.
The imagery is helpful. Think the measuring cups in your kitchen, ranging from a full cup to an eighth of a cup. Imagine each morning taking one of the cups with you that day to determine just how much love, patience, time and help you will measure out to others. Why not take the full cup? The quality of our day lies in this simple choice.
Hear a parable: “Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap.” Ah, to live like this, even for a day!