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 (Manna 48)
An Outlet of His Love
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An Outlet of His Love

THE MACEDONIAN SPIRIT

Apostle Paul once encouraged the CorinthianChurch with the spirit of the Macedonian believers, who were deeply impoverished. And what was that Macedonian spirit? It was a spirit of giving—one that gives above and beyond one’s ability (2 Cor 8:3).

This was the work of love offered up by the Macedonian believers, and we can only imagine how the needs of the saints in Jerusalem were so set within their hearts. After sharing the Macedonian spirit, apostle Paul encouraged the Corinthian believers with these words:

            It is to your advantage not only to be doing what you began and were desiring to do a year ago; but now you also must complete the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to desire it, so there also may be a completion out of what you have. For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what [one] does not have. (2 Cor 8:10-12)

Apostle Paul shared with the Corinthians the blessedness of being able to complete a work of love—not merely to intend a work of love but also to complete the doing of it. For, as he says, if there is first a readiness to do the work then there should also be the completion of that work.

 Like the Corinthian believers, we are those who live under God’s blessings and have received God’s word. So we are those whose treasuries have been filled by the Lord. Yet the Lord has not only filled our treasury; He has given us the power to partake of this treasury and access it  freely. This is the blessing God gives to each of us.

No matter how poor we are in our finances, no matter how inadequate we feel in our service, God gives each of us a treasure house of blessing. Through this treasury, we have free access to God’s grace. But what will we do with it? Will we bury it or share it with others?

THE TREASURY FROM GOD

As the beneficiaries of God’s word, we may feel we have nothing to share of His word, and nothing to give of His love. Just as a writer might wonder why their creative juices have suddenly dammed up and stopped flowing, we might wonder why our spiritual accounts read “zero balance.”

There are many times I’ve felt there’s nothing left—nothing else good—with which to share with other brothers and sisters. But then the Lord will shower me with some piece of His love, or a brother or sister will share a good word with me, or God will enlighten me through some act of kindness shown by a stranger, and I will realize that the treasury is still full because God fills up the account. It is from this treasury we must continue to share God’s good blessing.

The Storehouses of God’s Word

In the Bible, storehouses were used to hold the offerings of God’s people for the use of God’s house (Mal 3:10; Neh 10:38). These storehouses, or treasuries, found in the Bible referred not only to storehouses in a literal sense but also referred to storehouses in a more spiritual sense.

Thus, references to storehouses in the Bible might refer to an actual literal treasury, whether it be of God’s temple, the king’s house, or an individual’s wealth (1 Kgs 15:18; Isa 39:2; Jer 48:7), or, on the spiritual level, to a source of divine blessing and wisdom (Deut 28:12; Prov 8:21).

Jesus Himself spoke of storehouses both literal and spiritual. He taught us:

            Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. (Mt 6:19-20)

Though a rich man might have many storehouses around the world by which to impress other men, the Lord taught us there is a more important storehouse we must attend to—the storehouse of God. There, we lay up our treasures in heaven.

So, in Luke 12:13-21, Jesus shares a parable about a rich man whose cropland yielded so plentifully he did not know where to store all his newfound wealth. He decided to build larger storehouses for all his accumulated wealth and then take his ease.

But God had this to say to the rich man: “…This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?” Such is the folly of the person who lays up treasures only for himself but is not rich toward God.

Likewise, a person with no outlet for the grace they have received is a very sad person—a “black hole,” really. They are like storehouses without doors, whose badly designed treasury seems to be used only for hoarding wealth.

So how do we become an outlet of His love? I’d like to share a testimony about what the Lord recently taught me in answer to this question.

THE TEACHING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

One night as I was in a “stuck state,” praying and pondering about how to continue writing about this topic, namely, being an outlet of God’s love, the Holy Spirit began to move my hands and arms in a way I had never expected.

I had experienced this type of spiritual experience before—a long time ago—but this time it was different because I felt the Holy Spirit was both teaching and feeding me something miraculous. I won’t pretend to fully understand what this “spiritual dance” or “movement” meant, but I’ll share what little I feel I’ve been taught by the Spirit through this experience.

This teaching by the Spirit is a lesson in and of itself. It is a meditation on becoming an outlet of God’s love. For before we can even come to the first lesson, we must first be willing to be taught. That is the “pre-lesson” to becoming an outlet of God’s love.

The First Lesson: Surrender to God

The first lesson the Holy Spirit taught me was the hardest lesson for me (and I suspect others as well) to accept. I believe many people may never be able to master this first lesson—not to be pessimistic, but to encourage us to strive harder.

I do believe the first lesson is a major “stumbling block” for many good Christians, so, practically speaking, it may be the hardest lesson of all. This is the lesson of surrender.

On that night the Spirit moved my arms in prayer, and the first movement the Spirit gave me brought my arms and hands up and behind my head. My first thought was, “This is extremely weird. I feel like I’m being arrested.”

Then I understood. The reason I could not figure out what to write was because I had not fully surrendered the work over to God. God requires this type of surrender to do His work—to become His outlet.

The Second  Lesson: To Be Led

The second lesson the Holy Spirit taught me was a continuation of the first.

After I was “arrested” by the Spirit’s pull, the Spirit stretched out my hands as if I were being handcuffed. I pictured myself as a captive being led away. The lesson I gathered from this action was that, after we surrender ourselves to God’s work, we must also be led by God’s hand.

This is the Lord’s word to Peter:

            Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but             when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish. (Jn 21:18)

So the second lesson to becoming an outlet of God’s love is this: surrendering is not enough. After we surrender to God, we must also be led by God, for to be led is the action behind surrender.

The Third Lesson: Eat God’s Words

In the third lesson, the Holy Spirit reminded me to eat God’s words. After I was led like a captive, with my arms stretched out, the Spirit began to feed me something and both my hands began to put something into my mouth. I felt this was God’s mercy on someone very poor.

Immediately the picture of a weak and weary Elijah popped into my mind, and I began to see myself as poor Elijah. The Bible says, “Then as he lay and slept under a broom tree, suddenly an angel touched him, and said to him, ‘Arise and eat’” (1 Kgs 19:5).

Honestly, I don’t know what the Holy Spirit was feeding me. Perhaps it was a lesson: I must learn to eat God’s words. This makes sense to me as I was meditating on how to become an outlet of God’s love.

The simple teaching is this: if you want to be an outlet of God’s words and God’s love, you must first possess His words and His love. That means you must eat God’s words and His love.

The Fourth  Lesson: Swallow God’s Words

The fourth lesson the Holy Spirit gave me followed the third.

From the movement of my hands, this time the Spirit was showing me I had to swallow what I had been given to eat. The Spirit led my hands to repeatedly push down whatever it was I had eaten down into my stomach.

The lesson I received was this: after we eat God’s words and God’s love we must swallow it. To me, that means we must take God’s words in completely.

We often take bits and pieces of God’s word but not the whole Word. We like this part of the Bible so we will keep it. We don’t like this other part so that part goes out the door.

“Here it speaks of God’s grace, I like to listen to that.”

“Oh, I hate all that stuff about judgment and sin, let’s not read too much about that.”

If we only take the parts we like to hear and rid ourselves of the parts we don’t, we have to go back to lesson number one: surrender.

The Fifth Lesson: Become an Outlet

The fifth lesson the Spirit showed me was that, after we have eaten and swallowed God’s words and God’s love, we need to become outlets. This outflow of God’s words and God’s love comes from within—it comes from that same place where we swallowed God’s words, and it flows from that same place we touched God’s love most deeply.

The Holy Spirit revealed this to me by moving my hands from where I had swallowed what I had eaten, took what I had eaten out of my mouth, and then let it flow out into the world to share with others. These are the basic lessons the Holy Spirit taught me about becoming an outlet of His love.

There were two further “action” lessons the Holy Spirit impressed upon me, which I will only share briefly. One dealt with plowing, planting, and farming. The other dealt with eating once again.

But perhaps this final time was not to eat God’s word but to eat the fruit of one’s labor. Isn’t this the greatest joy of becoming an outlet of God’s words and God’s love? Isn’t this the greatest joy in life—that we can see the final blessing of our toilings? Isn’t this the hope of the patient farmer?

SHARING THE TREASURY OF THE LORD

In 2 Cor 8:10-12, Paul encouraged the Corinthians to share of their material gifts from their earthly storehouses with the saints in Jerusalem.

Yet, Paul understood that this sharing of material gifts by the Gentile believers in Corinth possessed a much deeper significance for the Corinthians than the mere act of physically giving to their Jewish brethren. It also implicated other more significant issues of fellowship, unity, and love in Christ’s family.

Just as a thriving and loving family freely shares with one another all the good things out of the storehouse of its wealth, so each member in God’s family must do likewise.

An elderly minister once confessed that he was asked to retire because of his old age according to church regulations. Yet, although he was obliged to retire from his administrative duties in the church, he continued with his spiritual duties.

He continued to write and lecture at the church’s theological school, preach on the pulpit, and share God’s words with others. Where there was no regulation, he offered himself completely to the Lord. He shared that, when he decided to become a full-time minister for the Lord, he made a decision to lay down his life on God’s altar and to never take back this decision.

Thus, he said that, as long as he was still able to speak God’s words, he would do so till he could no longer speak. As long as his hand could still hold a pen, he would write down His words till his hand could no longer hold a pen.

He said that he would never take his life back for himself because he gave his life to the Lord. These words touched me deeply, for they taught me what it means to be an outlet.

When we share out of the treasury of the Lord, we come to realize that God has both filled and given us free access to the treasury. We ourselves, therefore, will suffer no lack.

Apostle Paul understood these things when he said in 2 Corinthians 8:15, “He who gathered much had nothing left over, and he who gathered little had no lack.”

When we hoard the treasures God has blessed us with, we will gain nothing and experience nothing; yet, if we share out of the abundance of God’s blessings—speaking, writing, and sharing God’s word with others—God will supply our lack and we will experience God’s grace. This is the blessing of God’s manna. May we eat of it, swallow it, and become an outlet of His love. Amen.

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Author: Jason Hsu
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