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Archive for July 25th, 2011

My friend and mentor, Joanie, knew she was engaged in daily spiritual battle.  Her soul and the souls of those around her were targets for the enemy of our lives.  It was for this reason that Joanie tightly grasped the Sword of Truth.  “God’s Word is all I need.”

Once, while walking through a deep valley in her life, Joanie asked me to write out the words of Lamentations 3:21-23 (KJV):  “This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope.  It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not.  They are new every morning: great is Thy faithfulness.”  I wrote out a second copy for myself.

One of Joanie’s favorite authors was Oswald Chambers.  His book, My Utmost for His Highest, is in our home library.  At a time when I was feeling insignificant and unappreciated, my husband asked me to read a page he had marked in the book.  There, Chambers quoted Philippians 2:17 (NIV):  “But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you.”  Chambers’ commentary reads:

“Are you willing to sacrifice yourself for the work of another believer — to pour out your life sacrificially for the ministry and faith of others?  Or do you say, ‘I am not willing to be poured out right now, and I don’t want God to tell me how to serve Him.  I want to choose the place of my own sacrifice.  And I want to have certain people watching me saying, ‘Well done.’ ”

Chambers had my attention.  I was compelled to read on.

“It is one thing to follow God’s way of service if you are regarded as a hero, but quite another thing if the road marked out for you by God requires becoming a ‘doormat’ under other people’s feet.  God’s purpose may be to teach you to say, ‘I know how to be abased . . .’ (Philippians 4:12).  Are you ready to be sacrificed like that?  Are you ready to be less than a mere drop in the bucket — to be so totally insignificant that no one remembers you even if they think of those you served?  Are you willing to give and be poured out until you are used up and exhausted — not seeking to be ministered to, but to minister?”

I am thankful that my husband was drawn to this particular commentary from Chambers’ book.  I reflect on it whenever I’m tempted by my human nature:  Does anyone notice my hard work?  Does anyone see how “poured out” I am?  Will I be credited for my help?  Then I think about Joanie.  She was always pouring herself out for others.  She was my hero, but the life marked out for her required becoming a doormat.

Joanie was willing to be insignificant — to give and minister to others — all the while calling attention to the Savior Jesus Christ.  In turn, something amazing happened.  Joanie was never poured out to empty.  God’s Spirit filled her with enough for each day.  His compassions never failed.  They were new every morning.

Poured out?  Unappreciated?  Used up?  God sent me Joanie whose life assured me: “Great is Thy faithfulness.”  As I pour out to His glory, He is faithful to fill up.

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