Is your life overflowing with gratefulness? Why should I with all the problems in life you might say? It is good to contemplate this thought as we turn to Scripture on the topic.
Psalm 23, the “Shepherd’s Psalm” is very familiar to most people. After the passage of the “valley of the shadow of death,” David turns to God’s setting a table before our enemies and anointing our heads with the oil of life. Then he says, “my cup overflows” (Psalm 23:5b). I have often imagined this image of an overflowing cup, like a fountain. It is easy for me to place colored lights around the fountain so it reflects beautifully at night too. Can you imagine a fountain that you know, perhaps Buckingham or Versailles?
Psalm 119:17 says regarding God’s teaching, “may my lips overflow with praise.” Jesus makes clear that this overflow is a heart issue saying, “For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45). In the gospel of John the source of this overflow is made clear. “Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him” (John 7:38). Now this is an image or personification that I love to imagine and experience as well. Jesus is talking about the Holy Spirit flowing from within, as we trust in Him. In fact, the Holy Spirit will be with and within us, as we believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
“All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God” (2 Corinthians 4:15). This wonderful passage from Paul tells us of the grace and salvation that Jesus brings us that should cause our thanksgiving to overflow. A few chapters before this is a comforting verse that I often speak at the beginning of funerals as people are gathered. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds (overflow) through Christ” (2 Corinthians 1:2-5). God is a comforter, through the Holy Spirit that He sends us.
God wants to bring us to the “Promised Land” as He did the Hebrews in the Old Testament. In Numbers 13:27 it is written, “We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey!” However, ten of the twelve spies sent into the land then complained of the giants in the land. Then Caleb, one of the two courageous ones said, "We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it” (Numbers 13:30b), speaking of God’s promise to protect and deliver them into the land.
Do we often doubt the promises of God? Do we often doubt ourselves and our ability to do something? We read throughout Scripture that “nothing is impossible with God” (Luke 1:37). Again we often hear the Scripture that God won’t give you more than you can handle. This is true and He is faithful. But we must trust in Him, as we cannot do this on our own. If we do, it will be more than we can handle. I mention this because the theme of this epistle is the overflowing power of God and His promises to us. He will take us through the valleys and He will go with us. Our lives will overflow with thanksgiving and praise if we are filled and flowing over with the power of the Holy Spirit living within us. We must trust in Him as Savior and Lord for this promised power to work. Life is not meant to be lived in our own strength. It is meant to be lived in communion with the “Most High God.” Choose to be filled and overflow today. It is the “way, the truth and the Life.” (John 14:6).