It is God’s nature to overflow. The life of the Creator overflows and creates the universe…including us.
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). Then humanity is given a commission to overflow: “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it” (Genesis 1:28). God chose barren Abram and Sarai to overflow: “I will make you into a great nation. . .and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you” (Genesis 12:2,3). At Jesus’ birth the shepherds were told by the angel of the Lord that the good news of God having come to earth was to cause great joy “for all the people” (Luke 2:10). As the baby Jesus was presented in the temple he was announced as the visible salvation which God “prepared in the sight of all nations” Luke 2:31.
Finally and ultimately Jesus exalted “to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth” (Philippians 2:9-10).
God, Adam, Eve, Abram, Sarai, Jesus all overflow! So it is not surprising that Jesus calls his followers to overflow. All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations. . .” (Matthew 28:18-19). From the first sentence of the Bible God is overflowing to heaven and earth.
Jesus is given all authority to overflow to the very corners of the earth.
Although the gospel is always local, it never just stays local. It is on the move. It never just stays in one place.
All creation is aligned with God’s plan to fill, to overflow, and to fulfill. It this overflowing we cannot just be bound up by our anxieties or needs. The commission becomes overflowing. Or another way to express it is to say it becomes “great.”
When the overflowing good news of Jesus reaches us, it causes us be engaged in an openness to the wide creation around us. We are able to forget ourselves long enough to take in the overflowing purposes of God.
The chief expectation of God for humanity is to love. . .not to be prosperous, not to be smart, and not to find ourselves. Love is beyond our management. In his overflowing way of expressing himself, Jesus said, “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it” (Matthew 16:25).
Because God is overflowing, he sends us out. God commissions us to go out to all the people of the world, near and far. It all is within God’s sights. Every church, every Christ-follower is sent out. In the past weeks we have baptized Ryan, Sofia, Simon, Jakob, Lucas, Sam, Tharon, and Daniel to be gathered into the church so that eventually they will be sent out. Every Sunday God sends us out of the church fellowship into his big world. Whether you are confined to your home or if you travel internationally, God finds some way for you to connect with the big world.
It is reality that we cannot change. We cannot fully know God without being caught up in his outward motion.
It would be easier to reverse the volcanic flow of lava on the big island of Hawaii than to stop this overflowing movement of God.
This month nine of our congregation will witness the overflowing love of God in the nation of Haiti. May God indeed bear witness to his purposeful, fulfilling purpose of his good news. There is a lot of movement of God in Haiti and I am excited to be going to see where God’s momentum is so compelling. Over the years I have been amazed to see God at work in his overflowing way in England, Northern Ireland, the Dominican Republic, Afghanistan, and Peru as well as in various places across our country. For all of us, the journey continues.
Fill us, Holy Spirit, with your overflowing power, humility and love! God’s commission is so great!