Nearly 20 years ago on my 21st birthday, my dear friend gave me a gift I treasure to this day, a book in which she wrote these words:
Dearest Amy, May this book help you grow closer to your Heavenly Father as you learn to be “carefully careless” about everything but your relationship with Him.”
The book, My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers (or OC as I like to call him) is my favorite devotional companion (not counting the Bible, of course). I am spending time with OC again this summer, finding gems on a daily basis. Here is one from today:
“…I am free only that I may be an absolute bondservant of His.’ That is the characteristic of a Christian’s life once this level of spiritual honor and duty becomes real. Quit praying about yourself and spend your life for the sake of others as the bondservant of Jesus. That is the true meaning of being broken bread and poured-out wine in real life.”
I love the phrase, “broken bread and poured-out wine”, how it connects the elements of communion with living a life of service and sacrifice. In the physical act of communion, we remember the sacrifice of Jesus as we chew and swallow the bread, as the liquid slips down our throats. Chambers urges us to live our lives as committed-for-life servants of Jesus. Jesus showed us the way to do this, not just in His ultimate sacrifice, but in the others-focused life of service He lived.
Personally, I like to keep my loaves whole and intact, my wine bottle neatly corked and stored on the shelf. But living as broken bread and poured-out wine means, instead, being willing to be broken, divided, chewed, consumed; being poured out as rich liquid for the nourishment and sustenance of others.
This pouring out, this breaking looks different in our individual lives. It can be asking a calm question instead of retaliating with a sharp word; responding graciously to an ungracious child; waiting patiently for someone who is serving us, at an appointment or a business, recognizing that they are people, valuing them over our schedules; signing up for the not-so-glamorous job at church; or forgoing sleep because a friend needs to talk late into the night.
I am reminded of Paul’s words in Romans 12:1, NIV:
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.
We are facing some crazy things in our lives right now, even over and above the cross-country move. I long for communion, for the peace of abiding with Christ. Living as broken bread and poured-out wine means that in the sacrifice, right there in the breaking and the pouring, is the communion I am desperate for. Here in the sorting and parenting and the towering pile of unknowns, in the daily sacrifice of serving and interruptions and plans gone awry, there is Christ.