A friend of mine stopped by the church last week to chat with me. He shared some of his frustrations about his spiritual life and told me where he wanted to be.
What I found while listening to him talk was he was trying to pour out, but he wasn't being filled enough to give anything of substance away. He was tired due to a hectic schedule, work, lack of rest, and trying to help in too many areas of the church.
"I appreciate the love and passion you have for your ministry, for the church and the people in it. But you can't be effective if you have nothing to give. And if you don't take some time for yourself--to soak--you're going to shrivel up and cough out dust to the ones you want to saturate with living water."
Sometimes we get so busy ministering to others, we forget we need to be filled ourselves. You can't run a ministry and never sit in the service under the shepherd, skip small groups that will minister the Word, or neglect personal time in the Word for whatever
And I'm not saying this person was neglecting his personal time with God. But he needed to sit a little longer. Soak until his skin puckered.
Soaking is fabulous. We need to soak in God's word personally, from pastors, teachers, and other ministries.
Now, by telling you to soak, I’m not giving you license to sit on a pew or in a chair and take and take and never give. There's a balance.
What goes in, needs to come out. That's the point of soaking.
Let's look at trees for a minute. Hang with me. Fascinating creations, aren't they? Most every tree branch raises its limbs to the heavens, except the Willow and I have to wonder if it's called Weeping because it's not praising the Lord. I don't know. Something to think about.
When trees are planted, water is taken in at the root and carried up with nutrients through the trunk and into the leaves.
90% of tree water is eventually dispersed from the leaf stomata through evaporation, into the atmosphere.
That beneficial loss of water from the tree is called transpiration.
Transpiration comes from the word "transpire" which means, "to come to light or be known." Latin trans + spirare = to breathe.
The tree keeps 10%, enough to stay alive and healthy, the rest it breathes out for others to breathe in.
We need the washing of the water of the Word in our lives. We need to daily soak our roots in it. We need to let it travel from where we're planted (by living water), through the trunk of our body--saturating our stomach's desires, filling our lungs with praise, and protecting our hearts, until it reaches our limbs. Leaves like our fingers and tongue. Letting Light be known. Breathing out and giving life-giving air to the atmosphere around us.
Keeping enough to stay healthy and strong.
Giving most of it away.
We weren't meant to hoard God. We were meant to give Him away.
And we weren't meant to give until we have nothing left to keep going.
90/10 ratio. If trees can stay sustained at this rate. I think we can too.
"...it grows up and becomes greater than all herbs, and shoots out large branches, so that the birds of the air may nest under its shade." Mark 4:32
Where do you fall? Is it time to give some away? Are you giving and skipping on soaking up water in your roots? And do you have a favorite tree? Why do you love it?