I recently saw a video clip on the news, that I wish I could forget. It took place in Kingsland, Arkansas, population 300. It so happens that the late country crooner, Johnny Cash was from that little town. They honored him by putting his silhouette high up on town’s sole water tower.
But a sharpshooter, with a wry sense of humor, put a bullet right through Johnny’s groin area, which punctured the tank and produced a steady stream of water arcing to the ground.
And now, poor Mr. Cash relieves himself of about 30,000 gallons a day. Hmm – I know how he feels.
Now I bet you are wondering what in the world kind of spiritual point is Jim Johnson gonna make with this story. Well, I got one!
The apostle Paul had a leak of another kind!
He was nearing the end of his ministry – soon to move on to glory. But he shared these parting words with Timothy. He said, “For I am already being poured out as an offering, and the time for me to depart is at hand.” – 2 Timothy 4:6
The apostle referenced the sacrificial system of Israel.
The purpose of the Old Testament sacrifices was to bridge the distance between God and man. There were several kinds of offerings, but they could be summed up by grouping them into 2 categories.
There were those that addressed the sin of man (such as the burnt offering). These sacrifices foreshadowed the work of Christ who covered our sins at the cross.
There were also those offerings that symbolized man’s grateful response to God (such as the drink offering).
The burnt offering was the most frequent and important. It was presented to atone for the unclean condition of humanity. It was offered night and day – a perpetual cycle of sacrifice offered for God’s sinful people. (Lev.6:13).
It was the blood of this animal sacrifice that was sprinkled on the altar as a reminder that there is no remission for sin except by the shedding of blood.
Jesus, of course, became the ultimate expression of a burnt offering – His blood sprinkled on the altar, night and day bridging the once impassable gulf between man and God. Sin was and is covered by His sacrifice and an intimacy with God is enjoyed for those who have received His gift.
OK but what about Paul’s poured offering?
He was referencing the “drink offering” which involved a cup of good quality wine, ranging in volume from 1.5 to 3 quarts. It was never offered alone but was given in tandem with the burnt offerings. The priest would pour out the wine around the altar where the fire had consumed the lamb of sacrifice.
Like the burnt offering, it was completely expended. There was nothing left afterwards.
So, Paul compared himself to a drink offering as if to say: “Jesus, the burnt offering for my sins, has given me peace with God. I, therefore, become a drink offering to accompany His sacrifice. Out of gratitude I sacrificially pour myself out, all of me, in service for God’s glory and for the good of others who need to be redeemed.”
Paul went on to tell Timothy, “I have finished the race; I have kept the faith! Finally, the crown of righteousness is reserved for me.” – 2 Timothy 4:7-8
So powerful. Paul told the young man that he had done it. Paul had poured himself out – a living sacrifice throughout his years of ministry. He had withheld nothing. Jesus got it all.
I am awed that Paul could say such things, and that it would be recorded in the eternal Word of God for us to read today.
Makes me wonder what I may be withholding!
A PRAYER: Lord help me find the cork in my life that keeps me from being fully poured out.
This has been Jim Johnson with pickleheavenpress.com
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
Scripture passages are from the NET Bible ®