I realize that my photo for today is a bit of a stretch on the theme, but I hope you will bear with me. The lesson ought to be worth the stretch!
At first glance, these two glasses may appear to be virtually the same. A second look, however, reveals an unsavory thought: one of the glasses seems oddly reminiscent of the ocean. The deeper you drink, the more obvious the problem. Unfortunately, sometimes our lives are that way. We put forth great effort for the people of our community: we smile at the grocer; we speak kindly to our co-workers; we offer a helping hand to the elderly lady fumbling with her packages at the post office. When opportunity presents itself, we even go the extra mile to provide outreach for our community: food pantries, Vacation Bible School, health programs, Bible studies…After all, that is what the Lord directed—is it not?
But somehow that same breath which minutes before was calling out “Praise the Lord! Isn’t it a beautiful day!” is found yelling at our own precious children for some infraction, or sighing at our own precious husband for the little thing he asked us to do for him. “After all, it has been a long day—and I’m busy, too!” we futilely reason. Yes, it is futile; the Spirit is calling to our hearts.
I can hear James now: “If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body…Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? So can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh.”
You see, although those glasses are quite similar, the one is really quite detestable. Ocean water, as a matter of fact, is not only unpleasant. It actually draws moisture from the body of the one who takes it in. Your words, friend, spoken in some unguarded moment, not only are hurting the hearts of those around you. Those very words are sapping the spiritual life from your own heart.
Consider this: If I put forth great effort to minister to the children and adults of my community, yet the Holy Spirit is not there to minister through me, what do I really have to give? Empty service? Salt water? I have said it before and I am sure I will say it again: We cannot give what we do not have!
So what do we do? Let us stop drawing from the overly abundant pool of sea water that this world offers. Let us stop operating on our own failing efforts. Then, let us call upon the Lord only, who has power to save, and drink deeply from the crystal-pure well of Salvation. That water will satisfy! “He that believeth on [Jesus], as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” How’s that for a promise!
I am hard at work, planning Vacation Bible School materials for the children of my community—and yours. Do you have an outreach that the Lord has laid on your heart? Let us choose now to take the ministry deep into our own hearts, to draw from the Sweet Well, and claim the promises of Scripture. Then it cannot be long before we are watching in humble amazement as those rivers of living water eagerly pour forth to all around us by the awesome power of the All-Powerful!