Sponges and Watering Cans

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It was Jesus' custom to draw spiritual lessons from the
things surrounding him and by some similitude impress upon
his hearers a profitable truth; so we may get many valuable
thoughts from the simple things of every-day life. The
articles mentioned in the heading bring to mind pictures of
two classes of people.

The most noticeable feature of a sponge is its power of
absorbing a liquid and retaining it within itself. If dipped
in or placed in contact with a liquid, it will absorb
several times its weight.

Some people are like sponges. They go to meeting and drink
in the truth time after time. They love it. It delights
their hearts. They love the singing, the preaching, the
testimonies, and the prayers. They absorb and absorb, but,
like the sponge, they give out nothing. The sponge gives
up what it has taken in only when it is subjected to pressure.

So it is with these human sponges. While they love to listen,
they have to be urged to do anything. They testify only when
they feel duty-bound to do so or when urged by somebody else.
They rarely pray in meeting. They are among the last in all
such things. To go where a congregation are mostly sponges is
to find a few having all to do and to find a dull, insipid
meeting. Wet sponges will not burn. Neither will the fire of
God burn in a congregation of sponges. A preacher may be
full of fire, but he cannot set sponges burning. Do you have
to be urged to testify? Are you ready to pray or do whatever
you can in the meeting? Do you love to talk to people about
salvation? Or do you speak of it only when some one else
starts the conversation? Do you have to be constantly urged
to do your duty? Are you a sponge?

A watering can is different. It too will take in to its full
capacity; but as soon as it is turned in the right position,
it freely gives out again. Streams of cooling, refreshing
water fall on the thirsty plants. The drooping flowers
raise again their heads to blush in beauty, and their
fragrance floats out on the balmy air once more. A delicious
coolness surrounds the place, and we delight to be there.

While the sponge represents the selfish class, the watering
can represents the open-hearted, cheerful giver--one who is
ready to pass on the good things and who in return reaps
the promise, "He that watereth shall be watered also himself."

If the watering can is emptied, does not the gardener fill
it again, and with fresh water? So, if we are pouring out to
others, we shall be filled anew. We shall not be empty, but
fresh and rich in our souls with the water of life. The
great Gardener fills us that we may pour out to others, not
simply that we may be filled ourselves. It is said of Jesus
that he "emptied himself" (Revised Version.) He became poor
that through his poverty we should be made rich.

O beloved, God wants us to be "ready unto every good work."
Do not be a sponge. Do not have to be pressed into duty. Do
not live in yourself and for yourself. Be no longer content
with drinking in. Begin to pour out. Be ready to do your
part in meeting, yea everywhere. Be ready to water others.
The world is indeed "thirsty ground."

A sponge, if left to itself, gives out by evaporation
until it becomes hard and dry; and in such a state it is
useless. Many people have drunk in the truth and delighted
in it, but instead of pouring out to others, that they might
be refilled, they have just given out by evaporation until
they have become dry and formal and lifeless. That is the
usual result with spiritual sponges.

Who are those who are fat and flourishing, those who have
showers of blessings? Are they the sponges? Nay, verily.
"Give, and it shall be given." "It is more blessed to give
[to be a watering can] than to receive [to be a sponge]."

Now, face the question squarely. Which of these things are
you? Look over the past year. Have you been ready for duty?
Is your testimony always "ripe"--ready for the opportunity?
Are you ready for service of any kind? If you have been a
sponge, quit being one. Quit now. Get God to make something
better of you. If we are not now sponges, we can soon become
so by neglect of duty. The only safe way is to keep pouring out.

~ Selected ~

The article above was furnished courtesy of Jerry Boyer,
owner of "Messages From the Heart". To visit more of Jerry's
wonderful pages and to read his daily "Heart Talk",
please click on the banner below.

Heart to Heart

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