Monday, July 16, 2007

Overflowing Lives

source: LifeWay
Written by Rhonda Rhea
This article is courtesy of HomeLife.
We have a toilet in one of our bathrooms that has a notoriously sticky handle that I'm forever sending kids back to "jiggle." It can be a real nuisance.

We also have a toilet that tends to overflow. It requires an intermittent, ongoing plunge that can get pretty bothersome, too. I never realized how these two little nuisances could become such a crisis of cataclysmic proportions until they both inhabited the same toilet. I put the calamity equation together pretty quickly, though, once I was in the middle of the ugliest overflow I've ever seen.



I wish I could say I quickly sprang into action. After I heard the screams of disgust from my kids, I ran to the bathroom. But then I froze. I just stood there, staring in horror at the toilet volcano that was erupting toxic lava all over the bathroom.
I fought off the shock effects and struggled to be daring and heroic. It didn't help that I was in my stocking feet, but there was no time to hunt shoes — it was time to plunge in.
Tiptoe Through the Marshmallows
I tiptoed in, took the top off the tank, and stopped the eruption. But I was so grossed out that I wasn't quite sure what to do next. I opened the cabinet to see which towels I could live without (forever), and as I pulled open the door, six rolls of toilet paper came tumbling out. Within a few seconds the six rolls poofed to the size of 18. I felt like I was stepping through a minefield of giant marshmallows. At least they're absorbent, I thought.
I found a new respect and appreciation for the Shop-Vac® that day. And I can't tell you how glad I am that maintenance of any item with the word shop in it (as long as it's not related to the mall) falls under my husband's jurisdiction.
I threw away the towels. And the rug. And the shower curtain. And, just for good measure, I threw away the kids' toothbrushes. By the third or fourth shower, I started to feel clean again.
Let Your Ministry Overflow
Sometimes flushing out just the right place to serve the Lord can seem about as tricky. Thankfully, it's not nearly so messy. But it may require a plunge-in attitude: Not diving in because another person tells us to or because we feel guilty if we don't, and not diving in without thought, but sensibly diving into service because that's what God has called us to do. God's Word gives us "plunge in" instructions in 2 Timothy 1:7: "God doesn't want us to be shy with his gifts, but bold and loving and sensible." Verse 1 of chapter 2 charges us, "So, my son, throw yourself into this work for Christ" (The Message).
Whatever our situation, one thing is clear: We're supposed to be serving. First Peter 4:10 says, "Based on the gift they have received, everyone should use it to serve others, as good managers of the varied grace of God."  Not one of us is left out of the charge. Each one has received a gift. Each one needs to be using that gift in service for Christ.
Paul instructs Timothy to keep using his special gift of ministry. Paul told him in 1 Timothy 4:14-16 to "keep that [gift] dusted off and in use." Then he says to "cultivate these things. Immerse yourself in them. The people will all see you mature right before their eyes! Keep a firm grasp on both your character and your teaching. Don't be diverted. Just keep at it. Both you and those who hear you will experience salvation" (The Message).
When we are in relationship with Christ, we are filled with His love, joy, hope, peace, and more. Ministry happens when we allow Christ's work in our lives to overflow into the lives of others. Romans 15:13 says, "Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."
It's an overflow that leads to maturity in joy and hope  — and it never requires a Shop-Vac!

Rhonda Rhea is the author of Amusing Grace: Hope and Hilarity in the Everyday Calamity of Motherhood. She experiences this grace with five children and her husband, Richie, who is a pastor in Troy, Mo.

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