What are we to do with the blessings God sends our way?


Oh how easy it is to see when others are doing wrong, especially in our young children. One of the most common tasks is to rivers of living water 1teach them to share, especially when they are coming through the terrible twos. The older I get, however, the more I see myself as going through the same phase, especially spiritually. Recently this passage in John 7:38 drove the point home like never before.

“He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.'”

Dead SeaThe word that stood out was flow. What Jesus poured into us was supposed to flow back out. I immediately thought of the Dead Sea where plenty flowed in but nothing flowed out. The result was that nothing grew there. I couldn’t help but think about what our self-absorbed society had done to all of us. We think everything is about us and it’s not. We think everything our Lord gives to us is for us, but it’s not. Somehow, it’s to flow back out.

Our natural reaction is to wonder what’s the point? Why would He give us something and then expectsea of galilee us to turn around and give it away? I couldn’t help but think of the Sea of Galilee, the body of water that sends its overflow through the Jordan River and into the Dead Sea. By being a conduit instead of a reservoir, it teems with fish, providing a livelihood for hundreds of fishermen and food for thousands.

Jesus certainly exemplified this principle. He was constantly pouring out His life for others and the result, eternal life. Hardly a waste of time. His focus was the world, not just you or me. His thoughts were and are so much greater than ours, and so was His vision. He was not on a mission to fill us with “spiritual stuff” so that we could become more effective Christians. His goal was and is to make us more like Himself. We see this principle in the way disciples of a rabbi in His culture viewed their teacher. Their goal was not to know what their rabbi knew. Their goal was to BE just like their rabbi.

Like these disciples, our goal is not to know what our Master knows, but to Be like Him, and He poured out His life for others, and the results were life-changing. He wasn’t looking for tangible results so that He could measure His success. He was focused on doing His Father’s will by doing whatever His Father did. God put it in, and Jesus let it flow through Him. There was no possible way He could measure success other than to see if He was being an effective conduit. The Father would see to the “results.”    


mary anoints Jesus' feetThe picture that comes to mind is that of Mary of Bethany as she poured the vial of costly perfume on Jesus’ feet (see John 12: 1-8). The disciples saw it as a waste, but Jesus praised her for her thoughtful and heartfelt act of devotion. The disciples saw no tangible results, but Jesus saw her doing just as He wants us to do. She was literally pouring herself out for the benefit of Jesus. She was the only one who “got it.” Her heart was focused on her Lord, not her tangible service to Him.

We can learn a lot from her. She didn’t care what the others thought. She wasn’t looking for praise. She didn’t care about being “effective” in her ministry. She simply wanted to pour out her heart to her Lord.

We are so service-oriented that some of us need to take a giant step back and look at what we are really doing. Are we focused on results or on ministering to our Lord by being a conduit through which others can be blessed with what He has given us? Are we focused on what we are doing for God (which is always a bad idea), or are we focused on obeying regardless of the cost? The Apostle Paul often referred to himself as being a poured out sacrifice unto the Lord. We have been given some awesome examples to follow. Isn’t it time for us to be poured out to Jesus?

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