By Justin Rossow
You know what they say about spilled milk. But I’ve never heard anyone say that you shouldn’t cry over spilled wine. I mean, if you drop a full glass of really nice wine, what’s your reaction? What a loss! What a waste! What a mess!! Maybe you don’t actually cry. But maybe you want to…
Writing to his friends in the Roman colony of Philippi, Paul uses some surprisingly Hebrew imagery. In the Old Testament, the priests sometimes had the job of pouring out a drink offering; that is, spilling fine wine over the sacrifice to make it pleasing to God.
The Greeks and Romans knew of drink offerings, too. But unlike the other gods around the ancient world, the God of Israel never needed to be fed by human offerings. The Old Testament gives us a picture of a God who wants fellowship with people, and wants to remove sin so that eating and drinking in fellowship with God is possible.
For the joy set before him, Jesus lives out that heart of God. Jesus empties himself, pours himself out, gives his own blood as wine. Following in his master’s footsteps, Paul pours himself out as a drink offering that mingles with and enhances the sacrificial offering of his friends’ faith.
When you give yourself freely for the sake of people you love, when you pour yourself into the faithful sacrifice of others, when you join your self-giving love to the self-giving love of your friends, you don’t experience that as loss at all. Life might get messy, but when you live in the abundance of knowing Jesus, pouring yourself out for others doesn’t bring the pain of waste or loss; that fellowship offering brings tears of joy. I guess you can cry over spilled wine.
But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you.
Philippians 2:17 (NIV)
I thank you, Heavenly Father, that you have given me the ability and opportunity to pour into the lives of others. Have I told you lately about some of my favorite people and what they are up to? I place these people especially before your throne of grace…
Thank you Lord, for the people you have placed in my life. Show me how I can serve them in your name this week. Amen.
This devotion is a selection from Come, Holy Spirit: A daily discipleship travel log for Easter and Pentecost, available from Next Step Press. Used by permission.