If you have ever been at a dinner table when someone knocks a glass over, you’ve seen the mad rush to try to contain the spilled liquid. Borders are erected, napkins are thrown down because we know that the drink will quickly spread into the nooks and crannies that surround it. If it’s not limited, its effect won’t be either.
Thinking through this image gives a new meaning to when Paul says that his life was “being poured out” for other believers. A life that lives in service to Christ and His church in this way, is not a life that is contained, content to simply check off “service” from their Christian to-do list. Instead, a life that is poured out as an offering to Christ is one that is getting into the nooks and crannies of lives. They see unanticipated needs and rush to meet them. Their service is not inhibited by borders – either real or perceived. They are soaking the lives around them with the love and grace of God.
Much like the spilled drink at the dinner table, this will often have unexpected effects. I witnessed this recently with my mom. When her best friend became suddenly and drastically ill, she faithfully served her friend and her friend’s family night and day. No task was too menial and no errand too small. She was willing to do whatever was needed – pouring out her life for the sake of others. It only took a few days for the girls in the junior high ministry, where my mom normally serves, to realize something must have happened in her life for her not to be as involved with them as she normally is. Note that – a few days. She had so faithfully been serving them that her absence was quickly noticed, and when they discovered the reason for it, they got busy thinking of ways that they could serve her – bringing her groceries and flowers to encourage her as she ministered to her friend.
This is what happens when our lives are poured out for Christ. We may not always get to see the unexpected results of living a life of uncontained sacrifice, but God is faithful to use it for the sake of His kingdom. And a poured out life doesn’t just minister to those who they are serving, but it becomes an example for other believers as well.
What are some of the unexpected effects of living a poured out life that you have experienced?