Wednesday, January 5, 2011

on being useful

Have you ever looked upon fountains in the summertime? Their waters shimmering in the sunlight, dazzling onlookers of every age and culture... The continuous white noise they create, with the constant splish-splash of each droplet that finds its way back to the pool... The surrounding area wet with stray drops and splooshes... And if you stand close enough, you notice something else--a few things, really. First, you notice how you get to experience this wonder not only with your visual and auditory sensors, but with your touch receptors as well. Second, you notice that it's main gathering place, a.k.a. the pool, is never still--never placid.

And while I'm a sucker for serenity and calm just as much as any other person with a busy life, the fountain's pool is just as it should be: never waxing in the stillness, never waning in the quiet. It is as it should be--a bustling place where one unit of H2O is replaced at break-neck speed by another, all just in time to make room for another and another, and so on. Little waves are created constantly, even though we can never set our eyes upon the smooth ripple effect; there are simply too many waves and splashes coming in from all directions to allow for such nonsense. This is a place of excitement--a place of much to do, much to do.

Another thing you can see at a fountain is the wonder of discovery. Have you ever simply gazed upon a child, smiling and laughing as she experiences a fountain and all of its magical splendor? The squeal that explodes from this little soul as she learns the icy chill that is carried with its liquid counterpart... the stomping and romping that takes place in the puddles around the perimeter of this hilarious contrivance... the discovery of how something as simple as water can turn your fun-loving parent, uncle or auntie into an outraged psychopath while you're laughing all the way... watching a dog bite at and lap up the spewing formations of water as they shoot high into the sky... and seeing the silly confusion fade into their faces as they peer down into the ripply, ever changing glass to see the horrendous likeness staring back at them.

There is much ado at a fountain. And here is where we begin today's pondering. How many times have we truly noticed the actual device by which the water is propelled? When we look at a "fountain," we really are looking at the effect of a fountain. And in all truthfulness, the fountain's working parts aren't all that spectacular. I may even venture an opinion here: they are not attractive at all. But add water and flip a switch and no one notices the device anymore. No one sees the drabness. Everyone is transfixed on what its sole purpose for existing is in the first place: the water. The serious display of water, dancing about in a continual rhythm and motion, and the joy and beauty it brings to the people who are influenced by it.

This is a picture of life as a believer. We are simply a tool--a device--to let the water flow. And if we allow ourselves to not get in the way, it can be a miraculous spectacle, with all the emphasis falling on Whom it truly belongs: Jesus Christ. As the Holy Spirit is allowed to flow out from us, people around our world of influence can't help but be drawn to Him--to reach out and touch, to discover how He feels, how He tastes, and just how truly amazing it feels when a torch is passed or shared, and they too become a fountain, flowing boldly and beautifully for their Savior--the One who made them to flow.

Let it never be that I sit in disrepair, as people stroll past, gazing upon an unworking fountain. The disappointment it brings! It's funny, really. If you happen upon an unworking fountain, you are disappointed. You may have never seen it working, may not have a clue as to what you should be looking at, but still you feel disappointment. For all you know, it was a fountain that squirts people in the eye as they come in for a closer look... But even so, there is a languid retreat that happens whenever someone happens upon a fountain in disrepair.

So open up, let Him flip the switch, and get over yourself. It's not about you afterall... and it's certainly not about me. It is all about Him. Jesus. The reason I love and breathe. And the only "thing" I want flowing from me. Ever.

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