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Posts Tagged ‘spring’

A Spring of Grace

I love springs.

You’re going along, hiking in the woods, and all of a sudden you see water seeping – or flowing – out of the ground. It’s fascinating – how does that happen?

In simplest terms, when a (perched) underground water table meets the surface of the ground (almost always there’s a slope involved – see image below), the water has no choice but to flow out. Spring water then flows downslope until it joins with a valley stream.

spring water table

When the water table is pure, springs are a wonderful place to drink – especially during a long walk. If you’re not thirsty, a spring is a nice curiosity; but when you’re parched, it’s a huge bounty.

As long as the water table is recharged via regular rainfall, the spring won’t run out – it just keeps flowing. You can stick a cup under there, you can put a barrel in, you can sit and bathe in the discharge basin, you can drink all day long – you’re not going to empty it out. It just keeps flowing.

This is why God’s grace is compared to a fountain. No matter how desperate your need, no matter how unclean your sinfulness – the spring of God’s cleansing mercy is ever-flowing, ever-fresh, always available. You cannot exhaust the resources of the God of the universe.

spring water

Your thirst – your need – is finite, even though great. God’s grace is infinite.

Let us drink deeply today. And tomorrow.

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The Goal of Stewardship: Fruitfulness *

This past Sunday morning, we discussed in the adult class how bearing fruit – creating increase – is the aim of stewardship.

God gives us gifts, resources, opportunity, and the strength of His nearness to actually produce. To bear fruit. To multiply.

But what about those seasons when you feel like all you’re producing is emptiness? When you look at the branches and you’re not even sure you see buds, let alone fruit?

I feel that way now. Winter is an increasingly difficult season for me; my spirits are low, energy is scarce, and the oppressiveness of the cold makes me feel shrunken. Most days, I don’t feel fruitful – I feel dull and useless.

Some wishful thinking encountered on a chilly walk last week!

Some wishful thinking encountered on a chilly walk last week!

Our feelings at any moment, or our perception of our own fruitfulness, aren’t the final measure, however.

I once heard a wise man say that we are not to keep digging up the seeds after we’ve planted them. Don’t keep inspecting – let what you’ve planted grow.

That’s another way of saying believe. We are to have faith that the God who has planted Himself in us, and who waters us daily with grace, WILL cause fruit to spring forth. Even when we go through barren seasons.

Sometimes, fruitfulness is invisible to us, though it is evident to others. When all we see is our own winter barrenness, let us press on in faith. We walk in faithfulness that there will be fruitfulness.

Spring is coming. Fruit is coming. Guaranteed.

From Isaiah 35:

1 The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad;
the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus;
2 it shall blossom abundantly
and rejoice with joy and singing.
The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it,
the majesty of Carmel and Sharon.
They shall see the glory of the Lord,
the majesty of our God.

3 Strengthen the weak hands,
and make firm the feeble knees.
4 Say to those who have an anxious heart,
“Be strong; fear not!
Behold, your God
will come with vengeance,
with the recompense of God.
He will come and save you.”

5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
6 then shall the lame man leap like a deer,
and the tongue of the mute sing for joy.
For waters break forth in the wilderness,
and streams in the desert;
7 the burning sand shall become a pool,
and the thirsty ground springs of water;
in the haunt of jackals, where they lie down,
the grass shall become reeds and rushes.

8 And a highway shall be there,
and it shall be called the Way of Holiness;
the unclean shall not pass over it.
It shall belong to those who walk on the way;
even if they are fools, they shall not go astray.[a]
9 No lion shall be there,
nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it;
they shall not be found there,
but the redeemed shall walk there.
10 And the ransomed of the Lord shall return
and come to Zion with singing;
everlasting joy shall be upon their heads;
they shall obtain gladness and joy,
and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

—–

* This series is part of a 12-week study on the topic: Being Stewards of God <— (outline). We’re now in week 5, considering how fruitfulness is the goal of stewardship. If you’d like to receive these posts in your inbox, just put your email address in the Email Subscription box on the blog’s right sidebar.

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