A Rolled-Up Tube of Toothpaste
Last night, I fell into bed exhausted. As I collapsed into a heap, I felt as though I’d expended every ounce of energy within. Honestly, I felt like a rolled-up tube of toothpaste, like all the stuff inside me had been squeezed out, even to the very last drop.
Do you remember learning that lesson as a kid—the proper toothpaste-tube-squeezing procedure? My parents taught it to me early on, “Don’t squeeze the tube in the middle, it’s a waste. Start at the bottom of the tube. Then roll it up every time the tube runs low. That way, by the end, you’ve squeezed out every drop of toothpaste you possibly could.”
Believe it or not, as I was falling asleep last night I felt an analogy coming on and honestly, it kind of cheered me up. It encouraged me. I thought to myself, ‘Maybe living the Christian life is a little bit like using up a tube of toothpaste. By the time you’ve lived it, every single drop of life within you has been used up . . . in a good way.’
4:6 For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
These words were the ones penned by the Apostle Paul in his 2nd letter to Timothy. What’s amazing to me about this portion of Scripture is that Paul knew the end was near. He knew nearly all the toothpaste was gone. And he was proud of that. He had run a good race, the race he was meant to run.
Can you say the same? When you come to the end of your days, will people say of you that you spent all your energy making the world a better place? Did you give all you could? Love all you could? Share all you could? In other words, did you give of yourself until the very last drop of goodness within you had been squeezed out and used up for the building of God’s kingdom?
If you can say, “Yes,” to all the above, then good for you. I know it’s something I aspire to do, live every day to the fullest, even if it means that sometimes I fall into bed exhausted and spent. There’s something nice about knowing I didn’t waste my day. In other words, I didn’t squeeze out a sloppy mess that left something inside of me wasted.
When God’s Spirit lives in us, we have everything we need for life and godliness. All the toothpaste is there. So, don’t be afraid to pour out your life for Jesus. Let every breath within you be expelled in sharing the life-giving, life-changing Word of Christ. Then when you come to the end of your days, you’ll know you spent every amount of yourself for the good of the cause—a pretty good thing to feel proud of, if you ask me. Even if it does leave you feeling a little bit exhausted.
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