Betty J. Slade

 

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    Take the lid off the vessel we live in

    A new year dawns. And, with it, the expectancy of becoming what we want or know we should be.

    These days, it seems like it takes more than who I am just to make it. Even when my jar seems to be overflowing do I find the day requires more than I can actually give.

    A quote from a book by Messianic Jewish Rabbi Jonathan Cahn captured my attention: "Only by opening yourself up can you come to know that which you don't already know. And only by becoming an open vessel can you contain that which is greater than yourself."

    I held up my coffee cup and said to my Sweet Al, "This cup holds 8 ounces. How can it hold 64 ounces?" He looked at me as if I was speaking to him in Greek again.

    "Is this a trick question? An 8-ounce cup can only hold 8 ounces."

    "No, I am not asking you a trick question."

    We have always taught our children, if you err, err on the side of generosity. Keep your heart open, even to those who offend you. Forgive when you don't think you can. Love when it isn't in you. Be patient with the person who drives you up a wall.

    Maybe we were guiding them to give a cup that runneth over. Yet, I recognize by my own asking of the question to my Sweet Al, "Is that actually possible?"

    I hear my name called out each week when I drop off books at Ruby Sisson Library. The librarian from behind the desk usually follows that up by saying something that encourages me about my writing. There is a kindness and generosity that I experience, yet the person speaking probably doesn't even know what her words mean to me. She is just being who she is. Thoughtful. Yet, what I receive is likely far more than what she intended.

    Not even the deepest well holds water, so then how can we give beyond that which we have? It starts by opening ourselves up supernaturally. In other words, "take off the lid" and let God flow through.

    It begs the question, "Why are people stingy with their compliments when it doesn't cost anything, yet it can mean more than the value of anything they would have given?"

    I hear it said years ago, "If you're stingy when you're poor, you'll be stingy when you're rich." I am not sure if that is entirely true. I have, however, come to a point in my understanding - what I give doesn't depend on what I have, but who I am.

    Cahn continues in his writings, "Your mind and heart are finite. Clay jars. But the truth has no end. God has no end. The Eternal is infinite...always flowing."

    When we open ourselves up to the life God gives, whether it demands us to love, forgive, pray or just be a friend, there is an abundant flow. Just as with any other blessing, there is not a start or stop. Just a current that envelops us.

    I came from a small town that sat in the eastern shadow of Wolf Creek Pass. In the simplicity of that time, I certainly never saw myself with much to offer. Let alone, I would have never thought that I or anyone else could ever pour out more than we were able to hold. The acceptance of Christ gives profound meaning when I think about where the Bible tells us that we are filled with living water.

    Final brushstroke: How easy it is for us to live like a dried-up well that doesn't have anything to offer. After all, if we don't have, we can't give. That is, until we discover that if we take the lid off of whatever vessel we live in, God will fill us. And not just to a topping off point, but overflowing.

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