I entered the downstairs bedroom to retrieve an item when I heard water trickling. Ten minutes prior I had started a load of laundry, had gone upstairs and then realized I forgot something. Maybe I forgot to close the lid on the washer, I thought as I went to inspect the noise. Immediately I felt the squish of water between my toes. I was standing in a puddle! Not just any puddle. The kind of puddle that is more like a creek going down the hall, into the bathroom, under the wall and into the living room saturating carpet all along the way. Wading my way to the washing machine I finally turned off the overflowing beast. Blankets and towels became sponges and mops. Who said laundry was a nuisance? It isn't everyday we get to splish splash in our basement, right? If it were up to my boys we would have whipped out our goggles and tarp and had our own indoor Slip-n-Slide.
This mess took days to clean up. As I replayed the events in my mind I began to ask, Why did the washing machine have to overflow? It's not like I don't have forty-five other things on my "to-do" list. This is not one of them! Settling down my perturbed attitude I began to ask, Alright Lord, please show me what you want to teach me through this. Help me to see the bigger picture and not get cranky over soaked carpet and an appliance bill. Questions from the Lord rushed into my mind; Hester, what overflows from your life? When you spill over, what saturates the lives of those around you?
Whenever God prompts these kinds of inquiries, it is wise to take heed. These questions require honest self-examination. I would like to tell you my life overflows with sunshine, love, joy, forgiveness, kindness and patience. But, honestly, this isn't always the case. Sometimes my responses to my boys are short and sarcastic. Other times my requests may sound demanding towards my husband (Insert men's applause here). Even still, when I am overwhelmed and have too much going on, kindness can be suppressed in the effort to conquer my list. Uugghh! This is not how I want to live.
Accountability can be found in Matthew 12:34. Jesus tells us, "For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks." The next verse says, "The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him." What fills us up will spill out of us. What is in our heart will come out of our mouth. Earlier in verse 33 Jesus reminds us, "For a tree is recognized by its fruit." Just as a tree is recognized by its fruit, our words and actions testify to what is in our hearts and on our minds.
Now, I'm sure we all would like to overflow with good and positive qualities. In order to offer others a cup of sunshine versus a porcupine on a platter, we must store up good things in our heart as mentioned in verse 35. Filling our hearts with God's Word and His truth are of utmost importance in our effort to overflow with goodness. If God's Word and His principles are not in us, they won't come out of us either. We must also recognize our tendency to operate out of our flesh and ask God to help us live in accordance to the Spirit. The Holy Spirit enables us to live beyond our fleshly tendencies. He equips us to overflow with Jesus.
The overflow of our lives saturates those around us, good or bad. Each day we spread either thankfulness, kindness, love, forgiveness, and grace, OR we soak others with our bitterness, discontent, complaining, impatience, and sour attitude. Now I will ask you what the Lord prompted in my heart, "What overflows from your life? When you spill over, what saturates the lives of those around you?" Let's offer a cup of sunshine to others today.
Evaluate your actions, reactions, and interactions with others. Acknowledge and repent if your behavior is unbecoming and sinful. Ask the Holy Spirit to strengthen you beyond your own ability to overflow with love to others in your life circumstances.
What overflows from your heart? Be honest with yourself. How does what spills out of you saturate the lives of those around you?
Heart Changing Word:
Matthew 12:34 (NIV) "For out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks."
Matthew 12:33 "Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit."
Romans 8:26, "In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness."
Galatians 5:22 "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control."
Copyright 2010 by Hester Christensen. All rights reserved.