By it’s very definition the word “spill” implies unintentionally allowing liquid to flow over the edge of its container. If I spill my coffee or spill my water it was always an accident. You didn’t spill your light, non-fat, vanilla mocha latte with soy milk and an extra shot of espresso all over your lap on the way to work this morning because it seemed like a good idea.
In contrast, the word “pour” speaks of things like intentionality, calculation, premeditation, and measurement. When I pour something into another container, I have taken the time to gain an understanding of the capacity of the container I am pouring into. When I pour something into another container I am doing it because I feel that the container is suitable for either storage of or further dispersement of the contents I am pouring into it. For example, I wouldn’t pour milk into a pasta strainer and expect to use it for cereal and I wouldn’t pour boiling hot water into one of those cheap plastic bowls because it would melt it.
We spill stuff on accident. We pour stuff on purpose.
You ever notice how it seems like we spend a lot more time spilling into our relationships rather than pouring? Perhaps you rarely pour out affirmation into your spouse and you expect that a spill here and there will suffice. Maybe you find it hard to pour out discipline into your children in hopes that if you spill a serious threat of consequence every now and again things will be all right. You see, we cannot expect the same return on what we spill as we can what we pour. You spill hot things on your lap on accident…you pour specifically measured contents into a mixing bowl to create a delicious dessert. (I mean I don’t personally, but I understand there is measuring involved. I’m more of what you might call dessert “quality control” rather than production)
When we pour into a container with precision we know the exact amount we are able to withdraw. We are never in danger of demanding any more or any less than what it can give because we poured intentionally. I know that if I pour 4 cups of water into my coffee maker I can demand that it brew me 4 cups of coffee…but it cannot and will not give me 6.
We need to be careful of making “poured into” demands of relationships that only ever receive our accidental spills.
Look closely at the intentionality of Jesus with His disciples. Observe the way He taught them, walked with them, listened to them, affirmed them, corrected them. Every movement Jesus made and every statement that came out of His mouth was done with precision. Perfectly poured out…never spilled.
Jesus made relational withdrawals based on intentional deposits.
It doesn't matter if we are pastoring a church, starting a new business, managing a store, raising a family, or spending time with friends. We are relational beings by design and every aspect of our lives involves a certain level of relational effort.
Maybe it’s time to stop spilling our lives all over the place and start pouring ourselves into one another. I believe if we will take steps to increase our intentionality on the relational front we will see transformation in our homes, churches, businesses, and every other area in our sphere of influence.
We will stop accidentally over-drafting the relationships around us when we start making regular deposits on purpose.
Pastor Bill C.