Tuesday, May 8, 2012

be filled to the brim

inspiration: small group discussion - part two - John 2

i wrote previously about John 2:1-3 and how we are encouraged to stay "full" and how we must never run out of wine. we are to honor those around us and to be willing and able to pour into them.

now, here are the next few verses in this story.
“Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim. They did so... -John 2:4-7

a couple things that Carlee shared really stuck out to me:

we are called to put our heavenly authority above our earthly authority.

i had read earlier in the study about how when his mother remarked that they were out of wine, that Jesus' reply  in verse 4 was a sign of Jesus' authority and how He was in-tune with his heavenly purpose above the purpose of the world.  Jesus knew His destiny was the Cross, but He didn't want to begin at the wedding. His reply to His mother of "why do you involve me?" was more of a reminder to her that, although she was His earthly mother, that He was also the Son of God and was the Messiah whose ultimate goal was something apart from the lack of wine.

something that we talked about was how Jesus knew the proper order was to put our heavenly authority above our earthly authority. while we are called to obey the authority we have and to obey the law, but we need to also remember that we are to LOVE God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and He is to be first and foremost in our lives.

i know that for me, it's easy to put priority on getting to work above having quiet time in the morning.
it's easy to put priority on spending time with Holden above spending time in the Word.
it's easy to "run off my frustration" rather than spend time in prayer about it.

...am i alone in this?

we are called to obey and to be filled to the brim

in verse 5, Jesus' mother tells the servants that are around to "Do whatever he tells you".
this is our ultimate command as Christ followers: Do whatever He tells us

we can ignore the whispers (or yells) from God.
we can run from His calling for us.
but ultimately, His will WILL be done in our lives, so sometimes it's just easier to do what He tells us when He tells us.

as we continued reading through the next few verses, Carlee revealed more to us about the context of the passage. two figures that i have easily and quickly brushed over in the past, but were pointed out as significant.

six stone water jars.
twenty to thirty gallons each.

mathematically, that's a lot of water
and a lot of weight.
factoring in the fact that to fill up these water jars, they would have to pump water from a well, which may or may not be miles away, that's a MONUMENTAL task.

but the servants obeyed.
and not only did they fill the jars with water, they filled them to the brim.

we're talking 200+ pounds of water here in each water jar.
but they not only obeyed, but they went above and beyond their calling in order to fulfill Jesus' command.

i can say that i'm fairly receptive to God's calling on my life.
i like to believe that my faith outweighs my fear and that i've been blessed with strong trust in the Lord.
but am i always filled to the brim even to the point of overflowing?
probably not, if i'm being honest.

i tend to do "just enough" to get by.
i tend to cross the line of "minimum requirements" in order to move on to whatever is next on my to-do list.
i'm not always looking to overflow, especially in my faith.

i read just enough Scripture.
pray for just long enough.
go to just enough church services.

but the servants here gave everything they had in order to fill these jars with water.
and they were used to do immeasurably more (Ephesians 3:20) because of their obedience and abundance. which brings me to a huge point and something that i constantly have to remind myself...

Jesus took a common object and used it for a sacred purpose

he used the six stone water jars as vessels for an incredible miracle.
he uses us in the exact same way.

i have to always remind myself that i was fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14) and that He has prepared in advance good works for me to do (Ephesians 2:10).

although i have no idea what or how God is going to choose to use me, the fact that He does always humbles and amazes me.

there are things in my past that i've seen God use for His Kingdom.
the pain, the hurt, the shame and guilt - God doesn't let it go to waste. He blessed my pain and made it my ministry (this blog being the window into a lot that i've experienced).

but God places us in the exact place, moment, and situation we're in right this second for a reason: He wants to use us.

to me, this is amazing because God is perfect and could allow everything to be perfect; but instead, He uses me - a crazy asian with a blog - to fulfill His will and to work in His kingdom.

simply amazing.

when we are filled to the brim and when we allow ourselves to be used by Him, there is nothing that He can't do in and through us.

are there areas in your life that you need to work on filling yourself to the brim and to not just reach the line of "just enough"?

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