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  • Writer's picturePastor Jim Stultz

A Canal or Reservoir Ministry

Updated: May 2, 2023

We in our community are very familiar with canals. Water comes in and flows out depending on the tides. Sometimes the level of the canal water can vary quite drastically. Whatever flows in, flows out. However when you think about the function of a reservoir it is different. A reservoir is built to retain water. The water that flows in is kept until it is time to be released.

God filled the heart of the prophet Isaiah with an awesome overwhelming vision of God. It was after retaining and basking in that vision did he say: “Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?" Then I said, "here am I! Send me." (Isaiah 6:8). Another Bible character to have this reservoir ministry was David. After a horrible sin of adultery with Bathsheba we hear his prayer of repentance in Psalm 51. The rivers of grace and mercy from the Lord flowed into David’s heart and then we hear him say in Psalm 51:12-13: “Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me by Your generous Spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners shall be converted to You”.

When I think about the privilege of ministering to others I wonder if we are like a canal or a reservoir. A canal type of ministry takes in whatever learning, whatever information it receives and just passes it through without lingering long in the canal. The spiritual lessons and biblical truth doesn’t affect us much we just pass it along. However a reservoir ministry accumulates lessons from a vast inflow of biblical knowledge. It takes in wisdom from the scriptures and from turning the life lessons God brings our way into real changes in our lives. But instead of just passing along this steady stream of wonderful truths we first hold it for personal learning and spiritual edification. We allow God to fill us full and change us with the rivers of spiritual truth that comes our way. Then we can release that flow to others.

What kind of life and ministry will we choose, a canal or a reservoir?

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