I recently went to a doctor’s appointment with my wife, an appointment which involved her getting a shot. The medicine was suspended in oil, so it was extremely viscous. The needle itself, however, was very small gauge and it took a long time for the nurse to both fill it up and push it out. She had to hold the plunger out for quite a while before the oil would come through the needle and when it finally did it was just a little drop at a time. There was enough vacuum pressure inside that the plunger kept wanting to jump out of her hand. The medicine is designed that way so that it is not absorbed by the body all at once…it’s meant to last a full week. Interesting stuff, but I didn’t think much about it after we left the office.
That was on Friday…jump forward to Sunday where the sermon we heard boiled down to a simple phrase: To truly live, receive and give. Sounds so simple, right? And it is, or at least it’s meant to be. But sometimes the process of receiving and giving isn’t quite as fluid as we would like. In a way, we are like the syringe. We plug into Jesus and his love pours into us…or, depending on what gauge we are (how willing, open and available we are to receive), and (like the plunger) how much we fight the flow of His love and Spirit, it can end up just being a slow drip. Furthering the analogy a bit, the point of the syringe is not to hold the medicine…it takes it in only to later dispense it again. The whole point of existence for the syringe is to receive and give. In the same way, the Christian’s purpose, their way to abundant life, is to receive from Jesus and then turn and pour that love into others. Receiving Christ without letting Christ flow through is like a syringe that holds its medicine. What good is a full syringe?
Of course, it’s not a perfect analogy, because the process of allowing Christ to flow through you and into someone else is not really akin to a needle prick…or at least it shouldn’t be…maybe you’ve met a Christian who felt like they were sticking it to you. But there are other parts of it that work. For example, Jesus’ love isn’t something that you take in and absorb with full understanding immediately. While it goes to work right away, and gives new life from the start, that’s just the beginning of its work. It sticks with you, working its way into your being over long periods of time, having the lasting effect of healing and wholeness.
I love how God shows us pieces of himself in the mundane appointments of life. And I don’t even like needles.