“Then those who sing as well as those who play the flutes shall say, ‘All my springs of joy are in You'”
Psalm 87:7, NASB
Years ago, I fell in love with a song we used to sing at church called Jesus, Lover of My Soul. The song begins with a simple, worshipful declaration that, “It’s all about You, Jesus. And all this is for You, for Your glory and Your fame. It’s not about me, as if You should do things my way. You alone are God and I surrender to Your ways.”
Frequently, I would belt out the first line of this song with an impassioned Freudian slip, crooning, “It’s all about ME, Jesus.”
I didn’t really mean it, of course. There are just some lyrics I manage to mix up at times. None of them, though, quite as telling as that mistake. Sadly, but truly, there are so many days and moments when my focus is on me and not on God at all. It’s those days and seasons of my life when I wish God would just do things my way and when “surrender” becomes my least favorite word.
I began this week struggling, fighting to have a good attitude and a smile when my day was difficult and downright yucky. During that bad day, though, God spoke truth to me and drew me in closer to Him.
You can read the previous posts here:
And now, Lesson Three: It’s Not About Me; It’s About Him
Part of my struggle on my bad day was wondering how I could possibly minister to others when I was working hard at basics like keeping calm with misbehaving children and not stressing about my calendar. When I felt so empty, how could I pour out to another? It’s one thing to serve and encourage when we’re overflowing; God’s goodness just sploshes over the tops of our lives and refreshes all who cross our paths.
But, what about when our cup seems dry? What happens then when a thirsty neighbor lifts up needy hands in our direction and we ladle out empty air?
And that’s where I was. All day I met up with those hurting and thirsty; I sat at the computer looking at drafts of devotionals, knowing I couldn’t complete them for the day. Then, I heard it– my own voice echoing in my head, singing “It’s all about ME” from years ago.
Wasn’t that what I was saying? That when a friend has a problem, the source of my answer is Me? That when I sit to write this devotional, the words and the thoughts are dependent on Me—my ability, my ideas, my inspiration, my quiet times?
It carries over into my everyday life, too. As I lift my baby out of the crib far too early in the morning and she’s tired and cranky and she doesn’t even know why—I could depend on Me to be calm and cheerful or comforting or I could depend on God. When I pull my older girls close as they cry out tears of disappointment and I scan the house and see all of the cleaning I’m not accomplishing in that moment, I could stress out because I’m not sufficient enough, but then I’d be depending on Me once again.
Sitting on my desk (on top of the paper stacks), is My Utmost for His Highest, with the words from today’s reading underlined and starred. Oswald Chambers wrote: “Jesus was saying, ‘Do not worry about being of use to others; simply believe on Me.’ In other words, pay attention to the Source, and out of you ‘will flow the rivers of living water’ (John 7:38).”
Similarly, the Psalmist wrote, “Then those who sing as well as those who play the flutes shall say, ‘All my springs of joy are in You‘” (Psalm 87:7, NASB).
God is the Source, the Spring from which comes all my joy. He’s not an immovable Fountain either, located at only one place or accessible at only certain times of the day. He is my Portion and Provision every moment of every day. When I find myself carrying my cup back to Him like Oliver Twist in the orphanage, asking shamefacedly, “Please, Sir, can I have some more?,” I’m forgetting that I serve a generous God, who longs to pour out His grace on me. He isn’t stingy and doesn’t want me thirsty or starving. The more times a day I lift my cup to Him, the more times He will fill it. If that means I’m having a quiet time every five minutes all day long, then that’s what it takes to fill up at the Fountain of God.
When I’m running back to the well every few minutes, I know it’s because I’m a leaky person, with holes punched all in my heart from stress and busyness. Yet, it’s also because I’m pouring out to others and God is willing, even joyful, to replace what I’ve spilled over into the cups of my husband, my children, my friends, my Bible Study girls, my church members, the Wal-Mart cashier and the girl who cuts my hair.
The frequency of my visits to the Well doesn’t reveal my weakness or failure. It reveals my dependency on Him.
Yet, when I peer into my empty cup and think I’m too dry to walk this Christian life, too empty to share with another, then I’m forgetting that It’s All About Him. None of the ministry I perform in my home or outside of it is contingent on my ability, brains, beauty, education, character, or godliness (thank goodness!).
At Iconium, Paul and Barnabus “spent considerable time there, speaking boldly for the Lord, who confirmed the message of His grace by enabling the to perform signs and wonders” (Acts 14:3). The ministry they performed was only possible because God enabled them to do it. He empowered them, He directed them, He filled them up, and then He blessed what they gave.
He is enabling us, as well. Jesus said, “Apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5) and Cliff Richard wrote, “The more we depend on God, the more dependable we find He is.” On the days when we feel like everything is good, we’ve got everything under control and our cups are filled to overflowing, it’s hard to tell whether we’re depending on God or on us—whether it’s all about Him or all about Me. But, in the tough times and on the bad days, there’s no question about it. We’ve got nothing to offer. He’s the only Source. He’s what fills us up. He’s what provides what we need for our own cup and also for the cups of those around us. It’s all about Him.
So, if you’ve had a bad day this week and need a pick-me-up moment and a chance to refocus, I hope you enjoy some songs with me!
Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com and worship leader. Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness. To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.
Copyright © 2011 Heather King