Life has a continual flow of power or energy that is being poured in and that is being poured out. If more energy is poured in than poured out, we are energized and strong, but if more is poured out than is poured in, we are drained and weak. From the moment we are born, God and those who care for us invest in us physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. They leave deposits in us that cause us to increase in each of these areas so that we are full, healthy and satisfied. On the other hand, sometimes the forces of life such as other people, God, Satan, circumstances or ourselves, take energy from us. As we mature, we discover that we have some control over whether we get enriched or impoverished throughout our lives. For many people, life becomes a battle of maximizing the increases and minimizing the losses. Success and failure in Western civilization is often largely determined by a person’s ability to control these factors in their favour.
But life in Christ offers us a different perspective. We discover from God’s Word that those gifts which are poured into us are to be held by us as a stewardship. We are invited to invest them for God’s glory by blessing those around us. This includes serving, sacrificing, and pouring out of ourselves or ‘laying down our lives.’ We also discover the upside-down nature of the Kingdom of God. That paradoxically, one of the ways to be increased myself is to lay down my life for God and others. That one of the ways I find increase or blessing is by giving it away. This is fundamental to the ways of the Kingdom of God. But stewardship involves more than just giving away that which is being stewarded. It also means taking good care of what has been given to us so that it is able to be multiplied, and it means investing our goods wisely so that there continues to be an abundance. My desire is to live my life to its maximum potential in two areas: personal enjoyment or fullness and personal usefulness to the glory of God. I do not believe that these two things are mutually opposed but rather that they can work together in tandem to enhance each other. I believe that one of the keys to a full and abundant life is learning how to keep ourselves full and yet use our fullness to serve and sacrifice for others. One word for this discipline is resilience.
Developing resilience takes a conscious and continual effort. In order to live a resilient life we must be honest in self-assessment and intentionally develop resilience in every area of our lives. God’s intent for our lives is that we flourish, getting stronger character and fruitfulness the longer we live. He invites us to serve Him in such a way that our lives are enhanced through serving Him rather than being worn out.