Blessings Flow

I’ve been reading different books in preparation for a series of messages on generosity.  One of the books was written by E. G. “Jay” Link titled Who’s in Charge Here?  In the book he uses a great metaphor to describe how people think about money.  He segments it into two “ways.”

The way of the bucket is the humanist perspective.  If your basic belief is that this is all you get, there is no after life then you pour all of your resources into your bucket believing they are meant to be hoarded and siphoned off of for your own goals, needs, desires and appetites.  Simply put a bucket holds onto whatever is poured into it.

The alternative is the way of the pipe.  A pipe is a conduit – you pour into one end and as it passes through the pipe it is delivered to its destination.  Instead of retaining resources, the blessings of God are intended to flow into our lives, through our lives and out to others.  The underlying philosophy is:

1)  God is the ultimate owner of all things – we are simply stewards of God’s creation

2) God blesses us in order to bless others through us

3) Generosity is the method God uses and it fulfills God’s desires when we practice it in faith and discipline

However it is a system that has to be maintained.  We have to not only grasp the concept but also figure out how to enact it in our lives.  The faithful practice of generosity employed by a congregation ensures the delivery of God’s blessings to the neighbors around the church.

I used this analogy last Sunday to encourage folks to assess and challenge their understanding and practice.  One of our folks likened the narrative to the ancient aqueducts of Rome.

Hundreds of years before the birth of Jesus, the Romans developed a system to deliver water to fountains.  According to some sources the first of those was located in the cattle market of Rome.  Over the centuries the system expanded across the Roman empire and for the most part worked well in the delivery of fresh water for public consumption.

However the system eventually broke down.  Despite their best efforts, the Romans could not secure every single foot of the system.  People began to illegally tap into the aqueducts and diverted water flow.  It was the constant flow of water that kept the system functioning and when water was diverted, the conduit broke down.  The other contributing factor was the cost to maintain the system – when the Roman empire fell apart the aqueduct system virtually collapsed.  Parts of it was maintained by patrons but the majority of the system fell into disrepair, no longer able to deliver water.

Generosity operates under the same principles.  When a system of generosity is properly functioning it blesses not only the deliverer but also the recipient.  Water flowing through the aqueduct system kept the system alive and vibrant.  When water stopped flowing, the system broke down.  When the blessings of God flow through our lives we discover that we are well provided for by God.  When generosity stops flowing through our lives, then the system breaks down.  That applies to God’s blessings in our lives and the blessing that God wants to deliver through our lives to others.

So going back to the bucket and the pipe – which are you?

Are you a bucket that receives and holds onto everything for your gain and purposes?

Or are you a pipe – allowing the blessings that God is pouring into your life to flow through you so that they can reach others?

On Sundays we sing the Doxology as the plates are brought forward after the offering is collected.  We join together in singing “Praise God from whom all blessings flow…”  Hopefully God will one day praise us for being pipes that let his blessings flow through us into the world around us.

Blessings for the journey.

About Jim Hoffman

Pastor, teacher, leader, novice blogger, wanna be author and Christian conversationalist. Passionate about environmental architecture - creating spaces where people can foster new or growing relationships with each other and God. Currently leads a faith community on Ward Parkway in Kansas City and happily married to Margaret. Blessed with four adult children and two grandsons.
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