As we begin a new month and are adjusting to this new year, I began thinking about an old problem – my bathroom sink.
Now before you laugh at me, let me tell you, I am not a plumber, nor the son of a plumber. But my bathroom sink is a potential problem just waiting to happen.
If you ask me why, I will tell you: it drains very slowly.
This came to my attention some time ago when my bride suggested that I may want to clean up after I shave every morning. That was a surprising request because I thought I did.
But she happened to be referring to the fact that often after I shaved in the morning the residue of my facial cleansing remained in the bottom of the sink. That included shaving cream as well as the whisker remains.
So as a result of that conversation, I have paid attention to this fact and have attempted to make sure the sink is clean after my shaving. That has brought the slow-draining sink to my consciousness.
I have thus observed that if I leave the water running while I am shaving my face, the sink will fill up and the water in it will become cloudy with the lather that I have shaved or washed off. In that case, as I get ready to rinse the soap off my razor in order to take a clean swipe at the next area, I discover that the water is “dirty” and it is difficult to get the razor clean.
Therefore, I have learned that when I rinse my hands after applying the shaving cream to my face, if I turn off the faucet until I am ready to rinse the razor after a facial swipe or two, the bowl does not fill up so readily and the sink drains more easily.
Doing this a couple of times while I am shaving every morning has two effects: (1) It lowers our water bill, and (2) It makes cleanup a whole lot easier.
All right, I know you are thinking: Where on earth is all of this going?
The other evening, I got into a conversation with a fellow about spiritual growth. He was asking me whether I thought it was OK for him to back out of serving God “for a while”. He was so exhausted in giving of himself so much that he felt he needed “a rest”. And he went on about his need for receiving.
When he asked me what I thought, I thought of my bathroom sink.
You see, for the sink to function properly, there must be both giving and receiving. There has to be both input and outgo.
The faucet must work well so that the clean, pure water can come into the sink in order to manifest its cleansing power, but the water cannot just stay in that sink – it has to have some way to get out in order for the sink to function properly. The drain must be working as it should be.
The same is true for us as Christians. We cannot just be faithful church goers and givers and expect growth to occur. Receiving what God has to offer is important for each of us each day of our lives, but JUST receiving is not good for our growth. We must have some outlet for what we have learned to escape the “sink” of our lives.
I am convinced that is why the Apostle Peter put it this way: “Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation” (1 Peter 2:2, emphasis mine). Peter was saying that the point for each of us is not to rest, but to grow. Not to just receive from God, but to also give.
The point is that we need to continue the process of growing in our relationship with Christ. In terms of the bathroom sink analogy, we need to keep the water flowing.
The Bible is clear about how we can do that. (1) First, we PRAY. (Hebrews 4:16). Prayer is simply our acknowledging how much we need God and depend upon Him. A daily prayer time is a must for the serious Christ-follower. (2) Second, but not second in importance, we STUDY. (Psalm 119:105). If you and I want to know what God desires for us and how He wants to direct our paths, we must study His Word. (3) Third, we must TRUST. That is, we must live by faith. (Hebrews 11:1,6). That means that no matter how unclear the way may be, we respond to His truth and His direction with a spirit of complete confidence and obedience. (4) Fourth, we must OBEY. (1 Peter 3:15). God is in the business of directing our paths throughout each moment of the day. He will give us all sorts of opportunities to share His story of grace, mercy, and forgiveness to the people He brings into our lives. (5) Fifth, we need SUPPORT. (Proverbs 27:17). God provides other believers to encourage us in our walk with Him. We need to be accountable to trusted friends for our personal walk with Christ.
You may think the bathroom sink analogy is trite, simplistic, and inane — but the truth of the matter is that following these steps will “keep the water flowing”!
God bless …
Chuck Tabor is a regular columnist for the News Journal and a former pastor in the area. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.