The other week I was playing with my host family’s daughter, Addie, in the yard. She is 20 months old, and as you might know, the simplest activities are entertaining. In the yard there was a baby pool filled with water. Addie’s goal was to take water from the pool and place it into an empty bucket. Using a smaller bucket, she scooped the water out from the pool to the main bucket. The bucket began to fill each time more and more, and when it reached its capacity, it spilled out. She continued to fill the full bucket of water, not yet realizing, that it needed to be dumped out. After a while her brain would register that the overflowing bucket had to be poured out, to be filled back up.
As I sit and reflect over the first month of this fellows program, my mind constantly comes back to this image.
Filling up, being poured into, overflowing, not pouring out.
As fellows, we are continually being poured into. There are hundreds of people volunteering their time to show us more of Christ and his Kingdom at work in this world. Our host families offer up their home and sacrifice some comforts to us for nine months. Our teachers voluntarily give their time to teach us scripture and challenge our worldviews, so that we might know more of what we believe. Through our job placement, we receive guidance to become some of the best workers in the workforce. There are mentors, church staff, vocational consultants, friends, and so many more pouring into our lives because they care that we might know Christ more.
As I sit with my very own bucket, I am like Addie, not realizing that my very own bucket is overflowing. I’m allowing it to overflow, but still not registering that I’m supposed to be pouring out.
It just keeps spilling over the top.
It is so easy for me to slip into the mindset that these nine months are about me. It is easy to want to hold onto my bucket and never dump out the water that is being poured into me. God though is so gracious in revealing, just like Addie playing in the yard, that while we are being poured into, we are also called to be filling others up.
Selfishly I want to hold onto all that I have received and gained, but the Lord is nudging me, saying to me, "pour out your water, so that you can receive more." I think I want to hold onto this gift because I'm scared of where it might go, but then I remember it goes into the world. It goes back to our host families, our mentors, our coworkers, our new friends, our church. We are slowly able to give a small part of what we are receiving. Being in this program for only a month I can see it come full circle. We aren’t here to be solely poured into. We are here to pour out. To share more of our experiences with those around us. To share Christ and the amazing work he is doing in each of our lives. To share even our brokenness.
The Lord is teaching me so much about himself through this process. I have to come back to what Jesus did for us, as he poured out his life for us so that we could spend eternity with him.