Living the Poured-Out Life

The following is an excerpt from Bill Mills’ book, A Gospel Worthy of Your Life: Orienting Every Resource, Attitude, and Passion around the Cross.


A Gospel Worthy of Your Life - ebook cover

How would you like to live for the rest of your life doing only as you please? If you could wake up each morning and say, “Today I am going to do only what gives me the most pleasure,” wouldn’t that be wonderful? That is exactly the place where God wants us to live every day, all of our days!

That is how the Lord Jesus lived each day. He found His deepest joy in bringing pleasure to His Father.

So Jesus said to them, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me. And he who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to him.” (John 8:28–29)

The satisfaction of bringing pleasure to his Lord moved Paul to serve with every resource every day, and to lay down his life for the name of Christ.

Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. (2 Corinthians 5:8–9)

By God’s grace, our ministry training pastors has flourished throughout Asia. Not too long ago, in a country where severe persecution remains a terrible reality, one of the pastors we train, Amos, was arrested for preaching while he was training his second generation of pastors, following our commitment to equip national pastors to train other pastors in their own language and culture. He was brought into an interrogation room and was strung up over a beam by a rope tied to his thumb and his big toe. After suffering for many hours, he was beaten and thrown out into the street.

Amos continued his preaching and training. Some time later, he was arrested again. This time, as he was brought into the interrogation room, he saw another pastor strung up over the same beam by the rope attached to his thumb and big toe. The interrogator said to Amos: “Sit in this chair and watch him. I will return.”

When the interrogator left, Amos quickly moved his chair under his fellow servant. Soon the interrogator returned and asked, “Who moved that chair”? Amos admitted that he had moved the chair in order to bring some relief to his hurting friend. Again, Amos was beaten and thrown into the street.

Amos continued to give himself to the gospel. Should we be grateful that another servant of our Lord was there to meet Amos when he was thrown into the street, and to remind him to endure in his suffering and to not give up on the gospel? No, there was no one there to meet Amos, and no one was needed! Amos is doing only what pleases him. He is serving the One who brings him the greatest pleasure he has ever known.

Like Pastor Van, whom we met earlier in our study, Pastor Amos would explain why he does this: “Because He is worth it!”

Measured and Poured Out

I am so glad that both the apostle Paul and our friend Amos missed the seminar on “The Balanced Christian Life.” What an enemy of the gospel! This is merely a human understanding of how to navigate complex responsibilities in a pressure-filled world.

All of us seem to have more responsibilities in our lives, relationships, and ministries than we can possibly handle. Our lives are very full, and sometimes we become confused about where to give ourselves first in order to be good stewards of what God has entrusted to us. Some would counsel us that the answer in the face of pressure and confusion is to balance our responsibilities so that when every need is in its proper place, we can, in proportion, give ourselves to these responsibilities.

There are two very real difficulties with this perspective. First of all, none of us is smart enough to figure out how to properly balance the many roles and responsibilities that have been entrusted to us. We also lack the discipline needed to discern how to give ourselves properly, sufficiently, to our marriage, family, work, ministry, personal needs, sports, and hobbies. This is why God has given us His Holy Spirit! He is able to show us how to give ourselves to the people and the work God has given to us as we seek His leading.

Second, the “balanced Christian life” is not a biblical concept. It sounds so right, and even helpful to us as we seek to live as good stewards of God’s grace. The great problem is that this human philosophy leads to “measured-out lives.” We carefully measure our resources of time, strength, etc., in their proper proportion. But God has never called us to measure out our lives; He has called us to pour out our lives. This is Paul’s testimony:

Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me. (Philippians 2:17–18)

Measuring out our lives is anathema to the gospel! We are called to lay down our lives for Christ and His Kingdom.

When we live poured-out lives, the questions that we ask are completely turned around. We begin to ask, “How much can I give away, and how much do I need to keep for myself? How much time can I give to encourage my brothers and sisters, and how much time do I need to spend on myself? How many of my prayers should properly be consumed on myself, and how many can I give to the gospel and the Kingdom?”

This new but simply normal Kingdom lifestyle happens only when the passions of our soul are inflamed toward Jesus. Those flames are ignited only when we see the surpassing worthiness of God’s beautiful Son!

Bill Mills

Bill Mills was one of the founders of Leadership Resources International. His ministry began in youth work, where God gave him a heart for encouraging young people by teaching them the Bible. That same vision of teaching the Bible remained through the development of Leadership Resources' early church conferences and, later, with our pastoral training and work with missions. Bill’s passion was to bring the encouragement of the Scriptures to God’s people in order to equip them for ministry, and God graciously allowed him to fulfill that passion through many hundreds of conferences and workshops throughout the world. To learn more about Bill's life and ministry, visit our "Remembering Bill Mills" webpage.