16 Then the three mighty men broke through the camp of the Philistines and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem that was by the gate and carried and brought it to David. But he would not drink of it. He poured it out to the Lord (2 Samuel 23:16, ESV)
In the reading from My Utmost For His Highest, Oswald Chambers, asks the question: “What has been like water from the well of Bethlehem to you recently – love, friendship, spiritual blessing? Then at the peril of your soul, you take it to satisfy yourself.” Chambers is saying very clearly blessings of any kind are not for personal satisfaction. That was one of the faults that God found in his people Israel. He created the people through the line of Abraham, to whom he gave the blessing of becoming a great nation to bless the nations of the world, but they took the blessings for themselves, and did not pour the blessings out unto the Lord.
Many churches today are dying for the same reason. They have taken the blessings of the Lord in their personal life, and in the body of the church, for their own satisfaction, instead of pouring it out to the Lord, as David did when he received the water retrieved at great risk. Chambers writes in turn: “If you satisfy yourself with a blessing from God, it will corrupt you; you must sacrifice it, pour it out, do with it what common sense says is an absurd waste.” God has blessed us in many ways, talents, time, health, and financial well-being. He has blessed churches by locations, facilities, and the Holy Spirit. These were not given to satisfy either the individual or the church body. To hold on to them for our satisfaction corrupts the body of Christ. In a latter devotion, Chambers writes “Some of us are like the Dead Sea, always taking in but never giving out, because we are not rightly related to the Lord Jesus.” This applies to both individuals and congregations.
What does the sick church look like? Chambers writes: “If you have become bitter and sour, it is because when God gave you a blessing you clutched it for yourself; whereas if you had poured out unto the Lord, you would have been the sweetest person out of heaven. If you are always taking blessings to yourself and never learn to pour out anything unto the Lord, other people do not get their horizon enlarged through you.”
So what can we do. Chambers writes “Keep at the Source, guard well your belief in Jesus Christ and your relationship to Him, and there will be a steady flow for other lives, no dryness and deadness.”