Tuesday, July 25, 2017
Download MP3 (right click to save)
It was at a point where we were crossing this long bridge across the Arkansas River. The bridge was long because the river was wide. My wife made an interesting comment about the river. She said, "Now, we've seen how it got that way." Wide, she meant. Actually, we've seen the Arkansas at its headwaters where it's a very unimpressive little stream. And as we've driven across the western United States, we've seen many creeks and streams that feed into the Arkansas, taking her from being a dinky little stream into a wide and mighty river.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "How Mighty Rivers Get Mighty".
Tributaries: that's what creates great rivers. From all directions, those tributaries contribute to a river, feeding it, enlarging it. That's not just the way rivers grow. It's the way people grow, too, if they're open to the contribution that people in their life can make. And to the contributions they can make, as well. In a sense, you're supposed to be a river, you're enlarged and you're improved by the people in your world, and you're supposed to be a tributary, building and enlarging the lives of the folks around you.
Paul models that in Romans 1:11-12, our word for today from the Word of God. He says to the believers in Rome, "I long to see you that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong-that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith." Now, he doesn't use the words, but Paul seems to get this tributary thing. His purpose in wanting to be with these people is so he can give them some help, some encouragement, something that will make them stronger. But he also says he looks forward to how they're going to feed his stream, too, enlarging his spiritual life.
This is a pretty exciting way to view the relationships in your life and the people in your life. You are with those people both to give and to receive. I wonder if your coworkers, your family members, your friends, the folks at church feel richer because you just keep depositing good things in their life. You're supposed to be one of God's designated tributaries to help them become the mighty river that He's designed them to be. You wouldn't be there with them if He hadn't decided they need someone like you, and that you need someone like them.
Because you're also a river. What you are today; isn't that because of some human tributaries who have marked your life in the past: parents, teachers, spiritual leaders, friends, someone who listens to you, even those who've confronted you about things you didn't want to hear about? Maybe it's time to call or write or email or text some of the tributaries who've enlarged the river of your life, just time to say thank you-to encourage them. Don't wait for their funeral to say all those nice things. Say it to them while they can still hear them.
And then, about those tributaries God has put in your life right now. Would you listen to them, would you open yourself up to them, even to those who are critical? Even to those who don't say it with the right words or the right tone, sometimes even with the right motive? Sometimes those people are God's mirrors to help us see things that are in our blind spot; things we haven't seen and we might not see otherwise, and things that might be limiting us or tripping us up or displeasing God. A river with no tributaries is going to remain small, and it's going to remain stagnant, and so will you.
Mighty rivers become mighty because they are fed and enlarged from many sources that feed into them. You and I are like that, too. So, would you be a tributary every day for other people, and let them help you become a mighty river.