One day last week we got up and hustled through our morning routine like always. I delivered the children safely onto the bus and then moseyed back to the house. As I stepped into the house I announced to Little Bit (because I’m sure she was profoundly concerned about it) that we were opening doors and windows. The house just felt so close and stale and stuffy and still. Something had to happen. There was a nice breeze going outside so I walked from room to room throwing up windows and sliding doors open. Soon there was a refreshing current flowing through the house.
Everything stayed open and breezy all day. But when the Bigs got home from school, Bottom Middle determined that it was too cool and she started closing windows. I didn’t notice how many windows she had closed until the next morning. Once again I came home from the bus and noticed that the house felt stagnant again. Only two windows in the kitchen were still open. I quickly solved that problem and we got a nice breeze going again. But why, if there were still two windows open, did the house get stagnant again?
Our pastor used the following scripture this past Sunday and I think it applies here too.
Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure – pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.
The air wouldn’t flow through my house when the windows were closed because there was no way for it to flow out. Even when there were two windows open at one end, there were none on the other end of the house to allow the breeze coming in to move on.
So it is with our spiritual lives. There was a time when I sat in church every Sunday and absorbed. I was very spiritually dry at the time. And that was fine – for a time. But I reached capacity and couldn’t absorb any more. I found a small place to reinvest that didn’t cost me much personally and suddenly I was able to absorb more. So I invested a little more time. Absorbed more. The more I poured out, the more I was able to receive and the deeper my faith could go.
I did an exercise the other day as I was thinking about this flow principle and I hope you will take a minute and consider it yourself. Take a piece of paper and write God at the top. Now clearly He is pouring into you. Then create a flow chart from your name down the page and consider who you are pouring into. I started with a circle for my family and wrote all their names inside but then I added a circle for each other group of people I invest in and added those names.
Then draw a line. Now I found a new category – the back and forth category. These are the people who no matter how much I want to pour into them, they pour right back into me. This is a special and blessed group indeed!
Finally make one more line. Below this line list all the people who pour into you. If you can’t think of people to put in this line, I urge you to begin praying that God will send you a multitude. But remember, if these people are pouring into you, they can only use as much room as you make by pouring out.
Please consider something as you make this flow chart. Are you specific? Can you list names over organizations? Can you picture faces instead of logos? Sometimes the generic buckets are so much easier to pour into than the individual cups. There isn’t a personal investment involved in serving a large group. But when I decide to invest in one person, I have to get to know them and allow them to see me. When someONE is pouring into me, I have to be open to them.
I encourage you today to throw open the windows and go with the flow!