In his letter to the Philippians, Paul told his friends to practice what they’d seen him do. This is a common encouragement from Paul, who wrote to the Corinthians and told them the same thing, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1). If Paul was living his life as a sacrifice, if Paul was being poured out for others, then he encouraged us to do the same.
When you were a kid and someone asked you what you wanted to be when you grew up, I highly doubt you said you wanted to be a poured-out drink offering. Not only is the metaphor odd, but you would also be odd for saying it. Who wants to give up their life to be poured out?
I’m sure Paul’s friends and family thought Paul wasted his life by giving up power, prestige, and political influence. But Paul obeyed the call and served until there was nothing left. And I would safely wager that Paul probably questioned his choice to walk away from the life he once lived and the promise of a secure future. What was the benefit? What did Paul gain? There was no popularity, notoriety, or life of ease. But Paul obeyed because God asked.
You might be reading this and find yourself thinking, I could never give myself away. I don’t want to pour myself out. What a waste. But let’s be very clear: You are pouring out on something. You just might not know what it is.
Maybe you are pouring out your life on ambition and acceptance. Maybe you are pouring your life out to acquire finances, influence, and status. Maybe you are pouring out your life for the pursuit of happiness or the American dream.
And the truth is, when you pour out in the wrong places, it will leave you empty.
Your life can be poured out on your ambition, your desires, and your pleasures. Or your life can be poured on the people, places, and promises of God. Where will you choose to pour?
Nate Saint was the missionary pilot who has been quoted as saying, “People who do not know the Lord ask why in the world we waste our lives as missionaries. They forget that they too are expending their lives... and when the bubble has burst they will have nothing of eternal significance to show for the years they have wasted.”
I’m not saying cash out your retirement plan, sell your dog, and go on some gnarly mission trip. I’m not asking you to start a church, move into a jungle, or start a ministry for orphans. I’m simply asking you to evaluate where you are investing your life and what you are giving yourself to.
If you’re a Pilates instructor that wants to create a space where people can feel whole, do it.
If you’re a stay-at-home mom who wants to start a business, do it.
If you’re an aspiring doctor who wants to serve the underprivileged, do it.
You don’t have to have all the answers or the perfect plan. My dad had no clue what starting a small Bible study in East Los Angeles would lead him to. He didn’t know what would come of it. But he obeyed God, decided not to quit, and his life has affected thousands of people.
Legacy is something that is intentionally built. You must decide now what you want to leave for future generations. It won’t be easy. It might not even be clear. But if you obey God and pour out your life where He wants you to, your impact will change not only your life but the lives of generations to come.
Bianca Juárez Olthoff joins Randy and Tammy this Tuesday and Wednesday on LIFE TODAY. Taken from Grit Don’t Quit by Bianca Juárez Olthoff. Copyright ©2023 Bianca Juárez Olthoff. Published by W Publishing, an imprint of Thomas Nelson. Used by permission.