We don’t own.
I’ll say that again.
We. Don’t. Own…
What exactly do I mean by that? We didn’t engineer or build the system of earth. We didn’t create anything natural that’s in it, on it, or around it. Before humans started cluttering the planet with manufactured and hand built items and the resulting waste, Earth was a perfectly sound machine. It’s systems were so well integrated, balanced and efficient that it never needed us to take over. That happens when God moves into engineering mode… perfection.
As humans, there is nothing we truly have reign over. We’re more like children; gloating over our creations; bedding down in, and protecting our corner of the sandboxes we place them in. So how does our vision and creativity compare with those of the greatest designer that ever existed? Right now I’m chuckling at the very idea.
In the great spectrum of makers, God is all the way at the far end. We’re miles down the line, somewhere right near the beginning of what can be known and done. And in order to create the systems that run a universe, the one in charge has to have the ultimate view of what pieces fit where.
The point is, we may be good at managing our own resources for the purpose of self preservation; but when it comes to the big picture, we have no judgement about the placement of what God allows to slip through our hands.
Inputs and outputs
Every system, every thing, anything that ever has, does or will exist; it has inputs and outputs. It’s not only right to respect them for survival, but also for efficiency. Plants take in water, sunlight and air. They put out oxygen, food and other services to the world around them. Bodies of water have streams and rain clouds that bring in H2O. It seeps and flows out again through channels, rivers and things like underground caverns. Automobiles need fuel as input, then they churn out rotational force through many outputs.
Shutting off the output of any system, while still allowing access to the input; that creates a backup and it always leads toward danger. Eventually, it will bring catastrophic failure. If you let a river bring water into the reservoir but never open a spillway on the dam, a flood will ensue. If you block the exhaust of a car, it will never start. If you light a fire inside a completely closed container, that container will explode.
The inputs and outputs of human beings
We’re not simple creatures, by far. I can’t even count the number of inputs and outputs we have. They range across a broad spectrum from physical to abstract. We take in food and water and put out, well, (since I’m almost in the potty training phase with my little girl, I’m comfortable saying it), pee and poo. Childish humor aside; we bring money into our lives then send it back out by purchasing goods and services, buying gifts and so on.
There are also the more abstract things that we bring in and give off. Education fills us with knowledge while life experience brings wisdom. Then when someone else needs those lessons; we pass them along through things like social interaction, books and websites like this one.
What does it mean to be a conduit?
I’m giving you the first part of the definition of the word, the part that fits the context of this article. Miriam-Webster Dictionary puts it like this:
Definition of conduit
1: a natural or artificial channel through which something (such as a fluid) is conveyed - a conduit for rainwater
“Conduit.” Merriam-Webster.com, Merriam-Webster, www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/conduit. Accessed Aug. 30, 2018.
In other words, a conduit is something that has inputs, outputs and the ability to pass things through it.
In human context, it means to gather something then pass at least a good part of it along. I think; in God’s eyes it means to give what you are given, to do it with love, to do it with compassion, and to give with bright, positive intentions.
The woman and her shoes
I once saw a live sermon when a woman told a very moving story. She spoke about a pair of nice running shoes she’d bought. Within just a few days of getting her new shoes; she was driving with the footwear in her car when she come across a homeless woman with some crazy, uncomfortable, makeshift footwear.
Her plan was to go for a run during her lunch time, but apparently God didn’t share that plan. She’d almost never brought extra shoes to work with her. But on this day, while toting them in her passenger seat; upon seeing the homeless woman, the woman who bought the shoes felt she was being told to gift them at that moment.
After some deliberation, a bit of rebellion and finally, giving in; she’d lost sight of the homeless woman. The shoe owner drove a bit, found the other woman again, stopped by her side, lowered her window and said “I have some shoes for you”. And as she watched in her rear view mirror, the homeless woman put the shoes on. The now former shoe owner teared up and felt the joy that came in return for being a conduit. During the sermon; at about the point where many of us fought tears, she said “those shoes were never mine”.
To me; this sets the perfect example of what it means to be a conduit for God’s gifts, love and respect.
Are you going where I think you’re going?
Of course I ask for the support of my work, but this article has a much broader purpose; one that not only benefits myself and my own, it also benefits everyone. What I’m calling for is the awakening toward the system of generosity that God has built. That doesn’t just mean helping to build the financial resources of ministries and churches. It also means passing along information, wisdom, good energy, smiles, stuff and anything else we have that makes our own lives better.
The enemies, being the devil and those who do his work; they put up walls in the pathways of generosity. Those walls come in the form of misinformation, judgement, disinterest in the hardships of others and excessive pride. More specifically; when standing at the crossroad of either walking away or giving, we've all heard the statements like "that's just the way it is" or "those people made their own choices". Generosity breaks those walls and enables the continuation, the flow of what God has planned for all of us, the travel of positivity throughout the web of resources he works with.
What do the effects of generosity look like?
I think it’s likely that humans usually only see the few visible connections between those who give and those who receive. It’s great that we pay attention to the tears that almost show when a woman speaks about giving away her new footwear. Still; our visions of how far generosity reaches are foggy, somewhat blinded by the practices of a backward world.
But what does God see? I think God both sees and works with a virtually infinite web, full of endless bundles of lines and connection points.
When a woman gives someone her shoes, we see (hopefully) a great deed. I see that the woman may have restored some faith for a person who would likely lose it, living in the kind of conditions the homeless live in. I’m certain; that goodwill travels down the line in some way; but in my limited, human sight; the story basically stops being told when the words end. I think what God saw when the shoes were passed on was a point of light that traveled from the gift giver through that infinite web; splitting at each connection, following new paths, multiplying it’s way into infinity.
I think God saw that woman’s gift as he sees the gifts we all give. He witnessed a seed planted, something that sparked a growth that will last forever. And this is something I often hear in the divine messages I receive, that I have no idea how important the seeds are that I plant and how far they grow. I’m told to keep doing good things for others, to be generous with my resources. I’m told they unfold in many ways. I’m told they far outweigh and outrun the mistakes I’ve made and the damage my enemies do.
Are you ready to become a conduit?
There are benefits to passing along what we possess. I believe that, for God, it’s a simple thing. If he sees I’m willing to be a productive connection, then he adds me into the web and connects me to what I’m ready to handle. I think one general rule of that web is that, whoever is an output must also be an input. It’s mechanical, not personal between us and the big guy. It’s simply the way the machine works. A dead-ended pipe has no place in a flowing system of plumbing. A cut wire has no role in a circuit that delivers electricity to a light bulb.
How to do it
So how do you become or remain a conduit? How do you get plugged into a system that gives to your own life? You give. You ignore the reasons and feelings that tell you something only belongs to you. Put faith in the system of generosity. It’s a leap; but what I can tell you from experience is, it works.
How do you upgrade your current conduit status?
Every bad habit (sin) you drop adds a new level to what passes through your life. God lets us work in the better areas as we become ready for them, no sooner. Think about the story of Lucifer, wanting more than he deserved and causing immense damage to get it. In the past God has allowed others to have power without absolute certainty, without surely knowing they could fairly handle that power. It came back on him in terrible ways. He needs to see the kind of self-discipline that assures proper usage.
Use what you have to further God’s work and the betterment of our local and global communities; not just for one or one group, but for everyone. Use what you have to help others find and maintain the path toward God. He’s looking for a return on his investment in us; again, nothing personal, just the way the system works. Any tool you have to pass on positivity and connection to our heavenly father; use it for that, and work toward not using it for the opposite.
In order to receive, we have to be generous. Otherwise our pool of resources will overflow to an unmanageable state. For those who are already very giving people, they understand this. For those who aren’t at such a level of generosity, it’s a leap of faith. As I know personally, it’s a scary one. But the questions like “How will I know I’ll be taken care of while being generous?”; they’re answered by things like the bible, the experiences of others and in divine, Godly wisdom. They’re answered in time; once we see that, whenever we let something go, the system gives back.
God's Webs (91 second video) - A tiny story about how Jewel illustrated God's webs and how he places us in them; then some cute commentary to follow.
When you help the web of resources flow, when you release parts of what you’re given, the web brings back what you need.
Resources that support the first two articles about being generous.
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