“But even if I am poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you.” – Philippians 2:17.
The world’s system of reward and recognition is built to promote self-realization. In his 1943 original theory of human motivation, Abraham Maslow identified the highest level of human need as “self-actualization”, which he described as a person’s desire for self-fulfillment, seeking personal growth, etc. While we should endeavor to achieve the full potential of our lives, we come to a fork in the road when it comes to the motivation of our pursuits. Oswald Chambers contrasts the life of self-expenditure that Jesus calls for, to the life driven by self-realization. He writes:
“If we believe in Jesus, it is not what we gain but what He pours through us that really counts. God’s purpose is not simply to make us beautiful, plump grapes, but to make us grapes so that He may squeeze the sweetness out of us.”
The function of a vessel is not just to retain what it contains, but to pour our its content for the benefit of others. We must guard ourselves from hoarding and using the gifts and talents that God has deposited in us for personal satisfaction. When Paul answered God’s call to preach the gospel, He was all in. He did not put a cap on how much of himself he was willing to expend for the mission. In expression of his dedication for the sake of the body of Christ, he wrote: “I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls.” 2Corinthians 12:15.
Your life is not your own. When you say yes to God, it’s no longer about your personal agenda but His. Present yourself as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1) and let God pour you out, for the refreshing of a great many.