Dynamics: Physics. The branch of mechanics that deals with the motion and equilibrium of systems under the action of forces, usually from outside the system
Please do not assume that I am suggesting that it is virtuous to give for the purpose of being blessed. Too many others are (wrongly) espousing that idea. That is equivalent to the Pharisaical practice of broadcasting their alms-giving for recognition. By pouring out I imply more of a sacrificial act, something that, on our human side, is difficult, sometimes painful. Yet in our spiritual nature this kind of giving is joyous, and it results in blessings both inward and outward. Still, our humanness is relentless in its pursuit of happiness. At the core, the striving for happiness is self-centered, dependent upon getting something from the world that creates an emotion. This is an exchange of sorts. “What can I engage in to feel happy?”
Some give their bodies for immoral or addictive pleasures. On the lighter side we will engage in anything else that might be pursued to maintain a feeling of happiness. Most of which are not effective. It is cliché to list them – things such as fortune, fame, achievement, philanthropy. The hope of gain from experiences.
Happiness comes from gain, Joy comes from loss
“What in the world are you talking about?” There was a saying I once heard regarding pastoral ministry which went something like “Lord, you keep him holy, we'll keep him poor.” It has been thought over the centuries by some, that poverty and lack made one more holy and fit for service. Okay, not loving the world or the things that are in the world is certainly virtuous. However, giving away everything to gain one ounce of holiness will not work. Holiness is a result of God in us living through us.
I briefly explored the concept of joy in another blog www.missjanetm.wordpress.com, in a post entitled A Cup of Joy? Happiness is a noun, something passive, dependent on receiving something. Joy is a noun as well. The conclusion was that joy as referenced Biblically is a word (Gr: chara) that is better translated rejoice. Rejoice is a verb, an action. What does anyone have to rejoice about? The one who is surrendered to God has much, and it has to do with living in a perpetual state of grace.
Can you see how joy comes from an exchange?
First we exchange our insistence of running our own life, and living with many failures due to our nature as humans, for falling upon the eternal strength of God who created us and seeking to do his will above ours. Literally exchanging our life for his. Jesus demonstrated this to us on the eve of his barbaric murder when he said (as a man) “Father, if you are willing please take this cup of suffering away from me” and then (as a man submitted to God) “Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”
After that initial exchange, life becomes a series of exchanges. Loss is not really loss in God's economy.
Loss: detriment, or deprivation from failure to keep, have, or get.
We expend so much energy in striving to get, have, and keep in order to be happy. Then loss comes and deprives us.
What if we are always prepared to lose for the sake of bowing to God, and to obtain joy in exchange? Are we able to welcome loss, knowing that the exchange is so superior to the loss, that we will rejoice in spite of pain? That is a secret of which many are unaware, including those who follow Him. That is what prevents us from wailing “why, God?”
We do not easily give up. It is in our nature to fight for our lives, defend our own, and cling to that which is in our possession. But our new nature, His nature, is to give, give up, pour out. And we can practice this new virtue if we welcome the small opportunities. Giving to others in need, while yet in need ourselves is one example of pouring out.
See the widow at Zarephath.
...there was no rainfall anywhere in the land. Then the Lord said to Elijah, “Go and live in the village of Zaraphath, near the city of Sidon. I have instructed a widow there to feed you.”
So he went to Zaraphath. As he arrived at the gates of the village, he saw a widow gathering sticks, and he asked her, “Would you please bring me a little water in a cup?” As she was going to get it, he called to her, “Bring me a bite of bread, too.”
But she said, “I swear by the Lord your God that I don't have a single piece of bread in the house. And I have only a handful of flour left in the jar and a little cooking oil in the bottom of the jug. I was just gathering a few sticks to cook this last meal, and then my son and I will die.”
But Elijah said to her, “Don't be afraid! Go ahead and do just what you've said, but make a little bread for me first. Then use what's left to prepare a meal for yourself and your son. For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: There will always be flour and olive oil left in your containers until the time when the Lord sends rain and the crops grow again!”
So she did as Elijah said, and she and Elijah and her family continued to eat for many days.
There was always enough flour and olive oil left in the containers, just as the Lord had promised through Elijah. 1 Kings 17:7-16 NLT
Joy is resting in the assurance that whatever loss we suffer, God will fill the void, salve the pain, bring forth good in our lives and others', and sometimes enlighten us to a greater purpose behind the loss.
King David, while in the wilderness, in the midst of battle with the detachment occupying the town of Bethlehem, rashly longed for the good water from the well near the gate at Bethlehem. His men, eager to please their beloved leader, forced their way through and brought some of that water back to him. As he often did, David realized his foolishness.
But he refused to drink it. Instead, he poured it out as an offering to the Lord. “The Lord forbid that I should drink this!” he exclaimed. “This water is as precious as the blood of these men who risked their lives to bring it to me.” 2 Samuel 23:16-17 NLT
What is your experience? Has God ever asked you to do the “impossible”? Did you stiff-arm him? Or did you yield, only to be surprised at how it all turned out? May I challenge you to pour out an offering to the Lord?
God is Light
I have loosely applied the concept of the first law of thermodynamics, and the equation of relativity to the human spiritual experience when the relationship with God asks us to let go. Remember that speed of light squared in the equation? The energy is equal to the mass multiplied by the speed of light squared. Literally, the speed of light squared makes it possible to turn energy to mass or mass to energy. God is that very light. It is he who created, and nothing more can be created, only converted or exchanged. Leave your losses with him; he will convert them to good.
Jesus said, "Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel's sake, but that he will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life. Mark 10: 29-30 NASB