Alliance Life Nov/Dec 2015 issue of The Christian and Missionary Alliance


Pipes and Buckets


A few years ago, Matt Heard, a pastor in my community, used images of a pipe and bucket to illustrate how God’s love flows through the life of the believer. This love is to gush freely through us as water gushes through a pipe. But when that pipe becomes clogged with selfishness, bitterness, or a wounded spirit, the flow is constrained. Thankfully, that doesn’t stop God from pouring His love into us, but it does inhibit its movement through us to others. Instead of pipes, we begin to resemble buckets, where this love gathers and stagnates. A church or small group can become a collection of buckets that assemble each week “but have a limited impact on a watching world.” Ouch.

Peter BurgoI must admit that throughout the latter part of my Christian journey, I was most recognizable as a bucket—or at least a severely clogged pipe. It wasn’t until a recent formational prayer retreat that a good dose of divine Drano flushed out years of gunk that had kept me from being a clear conduit of Christ’s compassion and grace. But that’s an issue for another issue.

This issue celebrates fully flowing pipes. Like the pastor in Nebraska who was so moved with compassion over an unchurched couple’s loss of their home to a ravaging flood that he rallied not just his congregation but the entire community to pitch in and build them a new one. And the pastor in Indiana who takes every opportunity God gives him as a team chaplain to bring healing and encouragement to NFL athletes and their families. And the new believer in Burkina Faso who endures daily persecution from village leaders and curses from local sorcerers to lead others out of spiritual bondage. And the preschool children in a “restricted” country who turned unbelieving hearts toward Jesus by “giving it all they got” in a divinely orchestrated Christmas pageant.

As our president reminds us, “Blessed is the person whose heart has been made large by the love of God.” The free-flowing love we are called to carry far exceeds our capacity to contain it. So let’s keep the conduits clear, dear friends. Our withered and weary world awaits the living water only we can deliver.

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Peter Burgo, Editor-in-Chief

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