Bob Tamasy: The Spiritual Sponge Principle

Thursday, August 07, 2014

One of the simplest, yet handiest tools known to man is…the sponge. Everyone’s got at least one. Sponges have always fascinated me. I’m not talking about little, living creatures found primarily in oceans. I’m referring to the household variety commonly made from cellulose wood fibers or foamed plastic polymers. At least what my “sponge” search online told me.

OK, end of science lesson. What strikes me about the sponges we have in our homes is they sit quietly, waiting on a spill or for someone to make a mess, and then they’re ready to help with the cleanup. (As a matter of fact, I just used one – our 16-year-old dog apparently has a digestive issue. As teenage girls would say, “Eeeewwww!”)

Anyway, the curious thing about manmade sponges is they soak up and soak up some more, until they’re saturated. Then, however, they’re useless. They can’t soak up another drop. So we throw them away, right? Of course not. We squeeze them out, eliminating as much of the absorbed liquid as we can, and they’re ready to go back to work.

The reason I’m “sponging” this concept off on you is because just as the sponge principle is to soak up, saturate, squeeze out and begin soaking again, I’ve long thought there’s a “spiritual sponge principle” as well.

Today people with any interest in Christianity, religion or spirituality have more resources available to them than ever: Christian bookstores sell Bibles, books, CDs, DVDs and products of every kind, on every topic. Christian radio broadcasts 24/7, along with religious TV programming, catering to a wide range of theological bents. The Internet provides more spiritually oriented content than anyone could ever absorb. Some regions of the country are considered more “religious” than others, but no matter where you live, if the urge strikes to go to church, there’s one not far away. And every weekend, if so inclined, you can take in some Christian-oriented conference, workshop, seminar or retreat. There’s no lack of information.

But if that’s true, I’ve often wondered, why does this nation with such a strong Judeo-Christian heritage – and the people in it – show decreasing evidence of God and sound principles of the Bible in their everyday lives?

I think one reason is because, like spiritual sponges, we have tend to soak and soak and soak up biblical information, but rarely bother to squeeze out our “sponges.” As a result, we’re beyond the saturation point, but don’t know it – or don’t care. A preacher described it this way: “The sit, soak and sour syndrome.”

The Bible repeatedly warns against this, a tendency world evangelist Luis Palau called “the lust of the mind.” One translation of Jesus’ declaration in Luke 16:10 expresses it this way: "If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won't be honest with greater responsibilities.” In other words, if you’re not willing to use and apply what God has entrusted to you, why should you expect Him to trust you with more?

Addressing one of his younger protégés, the apostle Paul wrote, “I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ” (Philemon 6, NIV). The apostle wasn’t speaking just about evangelism with nonbelievers. We can also share our faith in conversation with fellow believers, offering what we have learned and what it means to us – and learning from them as well. We also share our faith when we live out what the Bible teaches. When we do this, putting our faith into practice, we gain a fuller understanding of what we know about God – and about ourselves.

Presenting His so-called “parable of the talents,” Jesus taught about some servants and their stewardship of what their master had entrusted to them. Upon his return, the master reviewed what the servants had done on his behalf. To the devoted, enterprising servants he said, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful in a few things; I will put you in charge of many things” (Matthew 25:21).

 In effect, Jesus was teaching the “spiritual sponge principle”: Once we have absorbed what God provides for us, don’t keep it to yourself. Squeeze the sponge by sharing it, putting it to use, applying it in your life in ways people can see – showing the reality of Christ in your life.

As someone has said, “If you were put on trial for being a follower of Jesus, would there be enough evidence to convict you?”

* * * 

Robert J. Tamasy is a veteran journalist, a former newspaper editor and magazine editor. He is presently vice president of communications for Leaders Legacy, Inc., a non-profit focused on mentoring and coaching business and professional leaders. Bob has written hundreds of magazine articles, and has authored, co-authored and edited more than 15 books. These include “Tufting Legacies,” “The Heart of Mentoring,” “Business at Its Best,” and “Pursuing Life With a Shepherd’s Heart.” He edits a weekly business meditation, “Monday Manna,” which is translated into more than 20 languages and distributed via email around the world by CBMC International. He also posts regularly on two blogs, www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com, and www.bobtamasy.wordpress.com. He can be emailed at btamasy@comcast.net. 

 



Bob Tamasy: A Fan…Or A Follower?

A few years ago Kyle Idleman wrote Not a Fan. In this book he explains the difference between being a fan of something and being a follower. The distinction, as Idleman points out, is critical. Most of us consider ourselves fans of someone or something. We might have a favorite author whose books we avidly read, or a singer or musical group whose recordings we buy as soon ... (click for more)

"It's Starting To Get Really Bad!" Is Sunday's Topic At Middle Valley

Pastor Mitch McClure of Middle Valley Church of God, located at 1703 Thrasher Pike in Hixson, will speak on the topic, "It's Starting To Get Really Bad!" in the  10:30 a.m.  service this  Sunday.   This sermon is part of a special series of sermons based on the Biblical report of Jesus that the Last Days would be preceded by events like Noah's ... (click for more)

Erlanger Refinancing To Provide Cash For New Children's/Women's Hospital, $50 Million Erlanger East Expansion, $8.5 Million Surgical Improvements

Erlanger Health System officials said an overhaul of the hospital's debt will include $70 million in new loans for several major hospital projects - including $11.5 million toward a new $30 million Children's/Women's Hospital. The overall cost of the latter facility is $30 million, but the hospital is seeking significant outside gifts and support. It will also pay for a $50 million ... (click for more)

Legendary Radio Broadcaster Luther Dies At 92 After Record 74 Years On The Air; Funeral Will Be Thursday At 2 PM At Engel Stadium

Legendary radio broadcaster Luther Masingill died early Monday morning at Memorial Hospital surrounded by family and friends. He was 92 and had been on the air for a record 74 years. Funeral services will be held on Thursday at Historic Engel Stadium, 1130 E 3rd St., at 2 p.m. with Pastor Todd McElyea officiating.   Honorary pallbearers will be the staff at ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Has Lost Its Most Popular Citizen - Luther Masingill

Chattanooga has lost its most popular citizen – Luther Masingill. Although we are saddened we cherish the memories.  All of us have a Luther story.  Mine is the first time I met Luther.  This was before TV and all of Chattanooga listened to Luther on the radio.  I was 12-years-old.  Some of my buddies and I had gone to the State Theater in downtown ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: An Election Day Fable

Every day I am peppered with emails that friends send to me from across the country so I am unsure of where the fable you are about to read originated. But with early voting for the November general election now in full swing, I think everyone who will -- or will not -- take part in freedom’s greatest privilege should read this story because I believe there is a great lesson contained ... (click for more)