Baskets of Grain


The important thing to remember is that while God rewards our giving, it's not meant to be our motivation. God is looking at our hearts.

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


Today's verse, Luke 6:38, is one of my favorite Scriptures. But I'm convinced it's one of the most frequently misapplied and misunderstood verses in the Bible. Many of the times I've heard preachers use this verse, it's during the offering time at church. However, one of the most common mistakes people make about this verse is thinking that Jesus is only speaking about money. In truth, He's revealing a principle that applies to every area of our lives.

To help us understand what Jesus means, let's back up and read verses 36 and 37: "You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate. Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven." Then, in verse 38, Jesus says, "Give, and it will be given to you." Yes, the verse does apply to money, but it also applies to forgiveness, mercy, understanding, and patience. Jesus is simply talking about the broad principle of giving. Whatever you give is going to be given back to you in "good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over."

The terms "good measure," "pressed down," "shaken together," and "running over" don't make a lot of sense the first time you hear them. But the people Jesus was talking to knew exactly what they meant.

According to instructions in the Old Testament, farmers in Israel were to leave the grain in the corners of their fields for the poor. So, each year at harvest time, there were two sets of harvesters in the field: the primary harvesters in the middle of the field who were paid to bring in the crop and the poor people in the corners who were harvesting the crop in order to feed themselves and their families.

Primary harvesters would fill up a basket, carry it over to the barn or wagon, then dump it out and go back to the field to begin filling the basket again. To these workers, it didn't really matter how full their baskets were, because they were being paid by the hour. They just needed to stay busy and keep working until all the grain was in the barn.

This wasn't the case for the poor people working in the corner of the field. They had probably walked several miles to get there. However much food they could get in their baskets would be the amount of food available to their families. If you were in that position, you would first make sure you had put in a good measure—or, in other words, filled the basket. Then you would press it down to create more room. After topping the basket off again, you would shake it to eliminate any air spaces between the grains. Having done all that, you would then pour in as much grain as you possibly could, heaping it up above the rim until it began to spill over the sides.

It is one thing to receive a basket of free grain. It is a far better thing to receive a good-measure, pressed-down, shaken-together, and running-over basket of free grain. Jesus used these terms because He wanted to communicate that whatever you give, you're going to get a lot more of the same in return.

Think about it this way. When you plant an apple seed, you don't just get back an apple seed. In time, you actually get back a whole apple tree, and on that tree are many apples, and each apple has many seeds. You get back so much more than you actually give! This is a universal principle with God. Keep it in mind as you look back over Luke 6:37. According to this principle, if you give judgment, much more will be given back to you. If you give condemnation, you'll get back much more. The good news is, if you give forgiveness and love, you'll receive much more of it than you actually gave.

The important thing to remember is that while God rewards our giving, it's not meant to be our motivation. God is looking at our hearts.


Lord, thank You for Your generosity. Thank You that whatever we give—whether it’s money, forgiveness, or mercy—You give back even more. Help me to be generous with more than just my finances. In Jesus’ name, Amen.


  • Luke 6:38(MSG); Deuteronomy 15:10; 1 Chronicles 29:14; Proverbs 11:25; 2 Corinthians 9:6

Taken from The Blessed Life, a Gateway devotion. 

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