Used Up

We like to save things.

We save the china dishes for special occasions. We save the best dress, our favorite snacks, our diamond earrings: we save our nice things because we don’t want them to break, get dirty, or get lost.

Author Gretchen Rubin notes that many people save their favorite things for so long the items never actually get used. Sometimes – in the case of items like food and perfume – lack of use results in complete loss at expiration.

And I wonder: have I saved my heart, my will, and my emotions? Have I hoarded love and kindness even as the expiration date draws near?

We save things because we fear there is no reserve. If we run out, that’s all there is. Even in this culture of plenty the fear of emptiness runs deep, and not just when it comes to food and clothing. Even deeper runs the fear that love – once poured into the lives of others – might run out, leaving us vulnerable and unprotected in a cruel world.

Christ loved us with a dangerous love: the kind of love that risks pain and vulnerability.

We protect our hearts by “saving” emotion. We refuse to be completely vulnerable with fellow believers, and keep our testimonies hidden from the lost because transparency can hurt. We give love and kindness in “just enough” increments because to love deeply can result in pain and rejection. It is easier – it is safer – to fence in our hearts than it is to pour them into the world around us.

But heart-guarding is not our responsibility.

Proverbs 4:23 says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” But in verse 21, we are advised to keep God’s words of wisdom “in our hearts”, for they are “life to those who find them”. It is the word of God that guards our hearts. His truth protects us from the enemy’s attacks. Trusting His protection frees us to use our hearts in the work God intended: that we love one another as Christ has loved us (John 13:34).

Christ loved us with a dangerous love: the kind of love that risks pain and vulnerability. And Jesus did not just risk these things: He experienced them on our behalf. He did not hold back any of the Father’s love, but poured it out with His blood. But while His blood ran red, the love never ran out. And it never will.

No matter how much we pour into this aching world, the reserve of love available to us will never fail. God is love, and His kindness enables us to continually give of ourselves even when we want to save our hearts from pain. In Christ, we are rich with the promise of His kingdom: the peace and joy of His presence which the world cannot know apart from the gospel. As spiritually-rich women, we have a responsibility to take the wealth of God’s love to those in spiritual poverty.

“ Command those who are rich in this present world… to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.” (1 Timothy 6:17-18)

The hope of Christ is meant to be used up, poured out, and generously shared with everyone we meet.

God guards our hearts with His word: we pour out our hearts for His kingdom.

The solution to “saving” materials things is to “spend out”: use them up, trusting that there will be more as needed.

Let us be “used up” for the kingdom of God. Let us be generous and willing to share our hearts. And let us pour out the love of God with reckless abandon, because His reserves never run dry.