Having grown up in the hot, humid summers of central Nebraska, I was fortunate to have a mom who made THE best lemonade – ever. After a sweaty afternoon of mowing lawns or walking the cornfields, nothing compared to her lemonade. There truly was nothing like it. Friends were envious. Neighbors wanted her recipe. And my siblings and I were the luckiest kids around with full pitchers sitting in the fridge each and every summer day.

Her secret ingredient? She’d add a full can of orange juice concentrate to the lemonade, as well as squeeze a few lemons and oranges in to top it off. I can taste it right now as I’m writing this! How I miss those days!

But here’s the deal…making the world’s best lemonade would have been meaningless if it had simply stayed in the pitcher. It had to be poured out and emptied for my siblings and our friends to experience the full refreshment, the joy, and the satisfaction it brought.

 Hmmm…that sort of reminds me of the Christian life.

We can go to church. Spend sweet quiet time with the Lord. Sit in on Bible studies. Listen to podcasts. Attend a small group. Fellowship with our Christian friends. Pray and fast regularly. And that’s all important. But it’s sort of like the world’s best lemonade just sitting in the pitcher with none of it being poured out…which is the whole purpose in the first place.

So what do I mean by being “poured out” when it comes to the Christian life? Well, the example Jesus gave us is probably a good place to start. Here’s what Paul said about Him in Philippians 2…

Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,  who, as He already existed in the form of God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but emptied Himself by taking the form of a bond-servant and being born in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death: death on a cross. (NASB)

 In this passage, the Greek term ἐκένωσεν or kenosis means “made himself nothing” or “emptied” himself. It’s the example Jesus gave us, and it’s the point of so many of His talks and parables. From Luke 10 and the Good Samaritan parable to Matthew 5 and the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus tells us to “…let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven,” Jesus not only talked about it, He demonstrated a humble pouring out of Himself for others—even to the point of death.  

God is glorified as He is reflected in us. And this only happens when—by the power of the Holy Spirit—we are emptied of ourselves, and we are ready and willing to “pour out” the very life and breath God has so generously given to us…to others…for His glory. So what specifically does that mean? Jesus said, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples: if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35) And I’m thankful to be in a church where we see examples of this every day.

  • The way Francie took the initiative to start the SHINE ministry and now so many are involved in blessing our neighbors.
  • The way Bob constantly reaches out to new faces and connects them with others.
  • The way Marty/Debbie and Mike/Kim so selflessly help their neighbors when they need something.
  • How Morgan and others love on the little ones when it would be easier to just let someone else do it.

In his book The Last Arrow, Erwin McManus discusses living for the benefit of others and why it’s so important.

“I love the surprise that is found in this story: four lepers whose highest ambition was to survive and live one more day found themselves the benefactors who provided a future for hopeless people. When you act like your life depends on it, you will discover that your life was never intended to be only about you. When you choose to live, you become a source of life. It may be your risk, but it’s never only your reward. The tragedy of a life that is never fully lived is not solely the loss of that one life. The tragedy is the endless number of lives that would have been forever changed if we had chosen to live differently. The call to live your most heroic life isn’t so that you can sit back at the end of the day and know you are a hero. In fact, the most heroic lives are lived by those who never think of themselves but only of those for whom they have given their lives.”

 

So back to the lemonade. If you’re convinced you’ve been blessed with the greatest thing/story on the planet (and BTW – if you’re saved by the blood of Jesus, you HAVE!), maybe you could consider how you could pour more of your blessings and what you have (spiritually, emotionally, intellectually, physically or financially) into the lives of those around you for the glory of God. I guarantee nothing will ever taste sweeter.