This Sunday we begin a new series focusing on our vision together at SCBC. The foundation of our thinking is God’s word to Abraham in Genesis 12 where he calls Abraham to leave his father’s household and promises to bless him. Abraham in turn would bless all peoples on earth. (Genesis 12:1-3) It is the same for you and me. We receive blessing from God and we become streams of living water (John 7:37) through which others are blessed. (2 Corinthians 1:3-6)
The challenge comes when we insist on holding on to the blessings that God has given to us rather than sharing them with others. It could be called a clenched fist attitude as opposed to an open palm attitude. We are like those monkeys who fall into the trap of putting their hand in a hollowed out coconut for a piece of fruit. They clasp the fruit, thus making a fist, and can’t get their hand out of the coconut. They are trapped as long as they clench the fruit. So with us, we trap our souls with greed and selfishness as long as hold on to the blessings that God has showered on us.
Perhaps the best way to overcome the clenched fist attitude is to realize the end result. It leads to death. Jesus said, “… whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.” (Matthew 16:25)
In February of next year Janet and I plan to visit Israel and we look forward to seeing the beautiful Sea of Galilee and the barren Dead Sea. I’ve been there once but I can’t wait to see these diverse places again. The Sea of Galilee is a small fresh water lake that is filled with life and surrounded by lush vegetation.
Just 130 kilometers to the south is the Dead Sea. It’s not an accident that this sea is called dead. Nothing lives in this body of water, no fish, no vegetation, nothing. And the land all around the Dead Sea is barren and bleak. The reason? It’s too salty to support any kind of life. It’s wonderful to float in but that’s about it.
Scientists tell us that the difference between these two bodies of water is that the Sea of Galilee is constantly taking in fresh water from the springs, streams and rivers that flow from the north. Then it releases the fresh water into the Jordan river to the south. It both receives and gives living water.
The Dead Sea on the other hand only receives fresh water from the Jordan River, it never gives. Because it is the lowest point on earth it has no outlet; so the water just sits, dead and lifeless. You can’t drink the water because it’s filled with magnesium and a whole host of other chemicals that have built up through stagnation.
From the very beginning God meant for his people to receive blessings and then pass them on to those around. If we act like the Dead Sea and only receive, and receive, and receive – our lives will end up as lifeless and toxic as that barren Sea.
God has blessed you – how are you blessing others?
In thanksgiving for you, Tom.