Inlets and Outlets

My husband recently delivered a great message on Generosity vs Greed. In it, he compared the Sea of Galilee to the Dead Sea. I’ve heard this on many occasions, as I’m sure you have as well. But this time I saw it from a different perspective.

There are few similarities for these bodies of water. Both are located in Israel and both are fed by the same source, the Jordan River. After that, they are nothing alike.

Galilee

The Sea of Galilee is teeming with life. Its waters are full of fish and birds fill the sky overhead. Deep green foliage edge its banks and its shores are lined with villages and communities. The Sea of Galilee is brimming with vibrant life.

Dead

However, the Dead Sea is just that – dead. No fish swim in its water; not even algae or bacteria can live there. No birds gather overhead. Foliage doesn’t edge its banks and there are no villages or communities lining its shores. There is no life at the Dead Sea.

The reason for this phenomenon: the Dead Sea is a hoarder. It keeps all the water it receives. It has no outlet. It has no channel to give. Every drop of water that comes into the Dead Sea, it keeps. It remains self-contained and as a result it poisons itself.

The opposite is true for the Sea of Galilee. The Sea of Galilee is a giver. For every drop that flows into the Sea of Galilee, a drop flows out. Every drop the Sea of Galilee receives, it gives. As it gives, life flourishes within.

Both have an inlet. But the one with vibrant, abundant life has an outlet.

Normally my thoughts turn to material things when I hear this analogy. However, this time my thoughts went instead to the spiritual.

I have an inlet. Abba pours into my life through His Word and His voice as we talk throughout the day. Holy Spirit points out things to me through messages I hear, books I read and music I listen to. He gives guidance, encouragement, support and love through mentors in my life as I am discipled. These are the inlets – the different channels He uses to connect and speak to me.

But do I have an outlet? Am I transparent with others about what Abba is doing in my life? Am I open in discussing what He is teaching me? Do I share the revelations He gives? Am I authentic so another believer can learn from my mistakes, struggles, trials and disappointments? Am I generously pouring into someone else what Abba is pouring into me?

Colossians 3:16b says Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom He givesAnd 1Thessalonians 5:11 says So encourage each other and build each other up,….. These verses point to our outlet. Teaching and counseling. Encouraging and building. We could also call it discipleship and mentoring.

To have an outlet means to mentor. Having an outlet means investing in another’s life through discipleship.  I create outlets by generously giving time to support, build and encourage others in their walk with Jesus. When I share what I’ve been through and what I’ve learned, I open a channel. When I have spiritual conversations and point the way to Jesus, I create openings where He can flow from me.

I don’t want to live self-contained. More than anything, I want to have both a strong inlet and a wide, flowing outlet. I want to pour into others what He’s so generously pours into me so that I am teeming and vibrant with life.

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