High in the Rocky Mountains there is a stream that flows. It is rather small and not that impressive for its size, but I like it. The stream is beautiful with the towering mountains, the little meadow of bursting wild flowers and scented pine trees surrounding it. My family found it along a trail in the Rocky Mountain National Park. I have a picture of my four boys sitting on a log next to it, for we chose this place to stop and have our lunch. Like most streams in the mountains, it begins from the runoff from the vast amounts of snow way up in the mountains, where the snow melts and then the water runs.
When we started our hike, we came along a stream that was much wider, stronger and louder. It was moving much faster than the one we stopped to rest at later as a family. The funny thing is, it was the same stream. Higher up, it was smaller, with an easy flow of water that you could stand in and skip rocks down. Then a little further down, the stream was much larger, even overflowing its banks at times. If I would follow this stream, it would take me through forests, miles of landscape and states-filling even the very bottom of the Grand Canyon. The trickle of a stream I sat beside, eating my lunch with my boys in the Rocky Mountains, flows out to become a raging river pouring for miles, entering one of the largest canyons in the world.
Overflow. There must be overflow. In Psalm 23 David says, “My cup overflows,” as he considers how God leads, guides, protects and provides for him. He speaks confidently of God’s generous care and way towards him, which fill him and then overflow. In the same way, we are poured into and then we pour out to others. This is overflow.
How does this happen? When we believe in Jesus, His Spirit comes to live inside of us, and begins to transform us, changing us into something so very good. If we could just see what we are to become, we would want it now! He has given us a picture of what we are becoming like– Himself. He is making us into people who resemble Him and who will reflect Him to the world. We can trust God as David trusted Him because His ways are good and will not lead us astray. Overflow is allowing God’s ways and His word to touch our lives and to change us. A monk in the 17th century named Brother Lawrence said it like this, “Sometimes I consider myself there as a stone before a carver, whereof he is to make a statue; presenting myself thus before God, I desire Him to form His perfect image in my soul, and make me entirely like Himself.” – The Practice of the Presence of God
Then we overflow to the world. This is the second part of overflow: allowing our lives (Christ in me) to overflow to others. It is like discovering a beautiful story, a sunset, a song or photo. Beautiful things are made to be shared. As others see what God is like, really like– they cannot help but want more. If they could just taste and see Him, it would make all the difference to them. “Everyone who drinks of this water (from the well) will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water I (Jesus) will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” (John 14:13,14) This is overflow.
We don’t want to be or become a stagnant pool, but become like an overflowing pool of water, that is filled up and pours out. This may seem foreign or impossible to some. Some days it all seems impossible to me. I don’t always see God’s work in me. I don’t see my life always making a difference. Then I remember, many years ago visiting the Grand Canyon, there was water in the bottom of it I could barely see. It started with a trickle, which really came from a vast reservoir of water high in the mountains. God has a huge cup that is continually being poured out. It is wide. It is deep. It is vast. His cup overflows to me. He makes my cup overflow. I am hoping as His cup continues to overflow into me, His ways (loving, giving, humble, and gentle ways) become more prominent in my life and overflow to the world around me.
Take some time to read the short book of 1 Thessalonians. In this, Paul gives a picture of the work God wants to do in us and through us. God wants to “enlarge” (2Thessalonians 1:3) His work in us and to those around us. How would you like to see this happen during this time of your life?