Be a river, not a reservoir

Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” – John 7:38

I’m loving this audiobook I’ve been listening to recently called Intentional Living by John C. Maxwell. The book is about living a life of intentionality rather than a life of good intentions, and how the way to live a life of significance is by adding value to the lives of others. I recommend it to anyone. In the book Maxwell says a lot of things that really resonate with me but the thought I want to share with you today is — be a river, not a reservoir.

I’m reminded of what Jesus says in the John 7:38, “whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.‘” I have often thought about this scripture and tried to figure out exactly what Jesus meant when he said that. When Maxwell shared that thought in his book, it gave me a new perspective. How can we expect rivers of living water to flow from us if we ourselves are being a reservoir and not a river?

You see the gifts, the talent, the ministry, the wealth; whatever that thing is that you are really passionate about, God didn’t give it to you for you to hoard up inside of you. It is not meant to be kept to yourself or only shared with a few close friends. Its meant to flow through you and be used to serve others.

I love how Merriam-Webster’s defines the word, “hoard.”– “A large amount of something valuable that is kept hidden.” There is a large amount of something valuable inside of you. Are you keeping it hidden? Or are you using that valuable thing to add value to the lives of others?

That’s why I decided to take my music and my ministry to the internet. For years I struggled with the thought of sharing singing videos on YouTube. I knew it would allow me to reach vastly more people with my music, but I was afraid of the criticism I might face (if you’ve ever read the comments on a popular YouTube video you know how nasty they can get.) But I haven’t received one nasty comment yet, everyone has been very encouraging, and I hope they have been encouraged themselves.

For me, I was allowing fear of something that might happen to justify hoarding my gift and passion for music. I was being a reservoir. Sure I was sharing my music with my church and a few people locally, but I knew there was a whole new audience on YouTube that my music would never reach unless I got over my insecurity and took it to them.

Don’t let criticism shut you down. When the thing you’re passionate about is faced with criticism, remember that everyone who is extraordinary faces criticism. Jesus faced great criticism, so much so that He was murdered on the cross for what He preached. It doesn’t mean that what you have to offer is no good, it just means that it isn’t meant for every single person on earth, but out of 7 billion people there are many who find value in what you do. Find a way to be a river, and take whatever valuable thing you have inside of you to as many people as you can.

A river is constantly moving. Its not stagnant. When water becomes stagnant, algae grows and the water gets murky. Murky water doesn’t have the same benefit that fresh, river water has. Its not very appealing, its stinky, you can’t drink from it and it would probably be harmful if you did. Likewise, people who decide to be a river are always moving toward their vision. They are always looking for ways to serve and make an impact.

What kind of person are you? Purpose in your heart to be a river and not a reservoir. If fear has been causing you to hoard up your gift I encourage you to take action, because simply dwelling on it will only feed your fears. Taking action will starve your fears and feed your faith.

 

Thank you for reading! I hope you were encouraged. If you were, you can be a river by sharing this post with 5 people who you think may benefit from it!

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