A sponge or a conduit? Which image fits us best?
Do blessings come to us for us to pass it on to others? Do we seek to be blessed by God so we can be a blessing to others? Or, are we the “final stop” for God’s blessings—a mere sponge that soaks up and gives nothing?
In Jeremiah 45:1–5, Baruch, the prophet’s scribe and a very godly man, received a rebuke for seeking wealth and success in a time of calamity and great need. From the Scripture Baruch could have easily justified his ambitions—for Deuteronomy 28:1–14 promises material blessings for obedience to God’s Law. However, Baruch’s pursuit after success, comfort and wealth was completely inappropriate while everyone else around him was suffering.
In Luke 16:19-31 we read of the condemnation of a rich man for allowing people to starve at his gate. In 1 John 3:17 the apostle tells us that the love of God cannot abide in our hearts if, while we have this world’s goods, and we see others in need and close our hearts to them. And James 2:15–16 says that if we see others in need of clothing and food but do nothing to help them except to merely wish them well, then our faith is worthless and dead. Riches and poverty should not coexist in the same community.
God has called us to be conduits of His blessings—not sponges. But understand this, even a sponge does not fulfill its purpose unless it is squeezed and drained of that which it hoards. And that fate awaits every “sponge” of a man who soaks up life’s blessings for himself and is not rich toward God and others (Luke 12:16–21). “For we brought nothing into this world and we can take nothing out of it either” (1 Tim. 6:7). Use your wealth in this life, therefore, to bless others and lay up for yourself treasure in the life to come (Matt. 6:20).
Dear Father in heaven, help me to live this life with eternity’s values in mind. Bless me that I might bless others. Amen.