By Chris Roseland
There’s a millpond in the neighborhood where my family and I live. It has a couple of fountains in the middle of it that shoot water at least 10 feet in the air.
Usually when the spring rains come, the water flows in and flows out. It’s beautiful. People, young and old, fish from the banks as geese and ducks gather around. During high school prom season, teens dressed in their gowns and tuxes, take turns snapping photographs from the gazebo with the fountains in the background. In the evening and into the night, its lights give the pond and the neighborhood a peaceful glow.
However, a couple of years ago, the fountains quit working. As we faced a drought during the hot summer days, no more water came in and no more water flowed out. The water level decreased, and fountains got plugged up with scum, pond scum, which covered the surface of the millpond. The fountains couldn’t spray because the jets were clogged. And the whole place began to stink. The fish and wildlife were gone.
The same is true for us. If our money comes in but doesn’t flow out, we get stopped up, and little by little, we, too, begin to stink. We stink at giving; we stink at loving; we stink at caring for others.
Think about it. What would happen if all we did was receive God’s grace, mercy, love and forgiveness, and did share it with others? We’d become miserable creatures and we start a slow death from the inside out.
God’s blessings come to us – not so that we can hoard them for ourselves – but so that we can share those blessings with others.
During this unprecedented time of pandemic, protests and social distancing, I think of the Prayer of St. Francis:
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
May it be so for all of us today, tomorrow and always.
Chris Roseland is the Lead Mission Engagement Advisor for the Presbyterian Mission Agency, serving the Northern region of the United States.