One of the hidden blessings of this difficult season that we are all navigating in our culture and our individual lives, is that many are finding that the Lord is not withholding His precious gifts to us. Last week we looked at the gift of “refreshment and rest” in Matthew 11:28-30. Jesus described Himself as the “oasis” on our journey.
In another very descriptive passage Jesus says that “All you thirsty ones, come to me! Come to me and drink! Believe in me so that rivers of living water will burst out from within you, flowing from your innermost being, just like the scripture says!” John 7:37-38
In these times when many of us need spiritual refreshing or just a sense of encouragement and uplifting that will sustain us through the weight of extended periods of disconnectedness, the absence of worship experiences, moments of spontaneous interaction with family and friends, and so many other things that are part of our everyday normal practice, it seems that these blessings will be for us to sustain ourselves.
In some cases, this may be the very thing that is most needed in your life for that moment and perhaps for a season. However, take note of the fact that the Lord says that these ‘living waters will burst forth from you, flowing from your innermost being…’ which is a picture of us pouring out the very blessings we’ve received from the grace of God in our lives. It’s a sign of significant spiritual growth when the blessings that you personally receive from the Lord you freely pour out to others rather than simply enjoy them for yourself. Even though it seems counter-intuitive, God’s highest purpose in pouring blessing into your life is not for you to simply enjoy it, but for you to become a vessel of sharing that blessing with others!
If we think about it, in less stressful times when you experienced a blessing of a powerful concert of worship or gathering of believers to share fellowship or strong scriptural teaching, you were very likely to share that blessing with others. In fact, it meant more to you that someone else would come along with you than for you simply to go by yourself.
The fact is that the blessings that you are receiving in your personal times with the Lord, or if you are blessed to be with groups of others that are stopping at the “oasis” of Jesus life and discovering the “rivers of living water,” are most fulfilling if you openly share them with others.
One of the things that I used to find somewhat disconcerting was that when we would have consistently powerful gatherings for worship and/or ministry I would see very similar faces, people that I knew quite well, who would come and take their favorite spot week after week but rarely would I see anybody new coming with them. They would come to be refreshed and they would come to enjoy the presence of God and His spiritual life being poured out, but didn’t feel that inner compelling to bring someone else along who might benefit equally if not more so from such an experience.
There are opportunities for prayer, small group gatherings and in some cases indoor and outdoor assemblies where people are finding the refreshing of the Spirit of God. If you are blessed to be part of such gatherings, then I would appeal to you to follow the example of Mary of Bethany, who broke the box of precious ointment and poured it on Jesus’ head as a sacrifice of her love for Him and what He had done for her. Even though she was chastised by the disciples as being wasteful, she was commended by Jesus for her extravagant act of devotion, and her story was forever immortalized in scripture. (Luke 7:36-50)
Perhaps now, more than ever before, it’s time to break open that flow of life and to cease craving it for ourselves and seek to spill it out to others all around us who may be even more desperate for God’s peace, power and presence than we can even imagine. Give the uncommon gift of spiritual blessing.