This morning I came across this journal entry that I wrote in January of this year. This is one of those spiritual truths that is so deeply rooted into my very being that it influences the way I live my life.
“And if you pour out that with which you sustain your own life for the hungry and satisfy the need of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in darkness, and your obscurity and gloom become like the noonday.” (Isaiah 58:10 AMP)
What is important to you, what do you need desperately to survive and sustain your own life? Are you willing to pour it out to meet the need of another? Perhaps even ‘the least of these’?
There is no more precious commodity in my life right now than time. I’m practically bankrupt when it comes to moments in the day. And although I must wisely prune away the unnecessary, the opportunity to invest in the life of a person needing a moment of love, understanding, council or a listening ear can never be counted as unnecessary.
In other translations the ‘if you pour yourself out’ reads differently.
– if thou draw out thy soul KJV ASV
– if you pour yourself out ESV NLT
– if you spend yourselves NIV
– if you extend your soul NKJV
As I ponder this Scripture and think these thoughts I am reminded of a very powerful account of a woman facing desperate times. She was at the end of herself and her resources. Resolved to make one last meal for herself and her son before they perished she faced an alarming request to give that last little bit to another, to pour out what she needed.
First she was asked for a drink of water. Although there was a drought and water was hard to come by, the water didn’t ‘belong’ to her and she doesn’t seem to hesitate to share. But, when she is asked for bread, it gets personal and here is how she responds.
But she said, “I swear by the Lord your God that I don’t have a single piece of bread in the house. And I have only a handful of flour left in the jar and a little cooking oil in the bottom of the jug. I was just gathering a few sticks to cook this last meal, and then my son and I will die.” (1 Kings 17:12 NLT)
I told you she was in a state of desperation! She was preparing to perish after she and her son had this last meal! I am thankful to say that I have never known such a state of physical hunger. I can’t always have what I want but, I have never gone without. However, I can relate to this mother on other levels. I sometimes feel just as bankrupt when it comes to emotional energy, physical strength and a seemingly constant time crunch.
Sometimes, just like this lady, I want to declare that I need what I have for my own family, my own children. Sometimes, I do. But, you see, I learned this a long time ago, if I save everything I have, every moment of time, every lesson I teach, every gift or talent I possess and pour it all into what is mine (my children/family), I will still never have enough or be enough for their needs. The smartest move I can make as a mother who feels hard pressed to provide for my own family is to pour myself out for others in need as the Lord gives me opportunity. Then, only then, can I be enough for these children & this husband that God has given me. Because it is then that I humble myself through obedience, giving what I so desperately need myself pouring myself out, extending my soul, spending myself when He asks me to.
She obeyed, bravely and likely with fear and trembling. Even though she protested at first, she sat aside her fear and hesitation and trusted God to be enough. And He was. When God saw her obedience, her faith, He provided what she could not because she gave what little he had to Him.
“There was always enough flour and olive oil left in the containers, just as the Lord had promised through Elijah.” (1 Kings 17:16 NLT)
At the end of each day when I lay my head on my pillow it is my goal to have poured it all out, to have emptied myself of my own resources, to have invested in hurting lives, to have fed a hungry soul, to have answered the the call, to have given what I can and then turn to Him for a refilling and refreshing so I can do it again tomorrow and the next day and the next. And at the end of my life I hope I can say the same words that Paul said at the end of his.
“As for me, my life has already been poured out as an offering to God. The time of my death is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful.” (2 Timothy 4:6, 7 NLT)