A bucket brigade or human chain is a method where things are passed from one stationary person to the next. It gets its name from the days before pressurized fire trucks when, to put out a fire, a line of people would be formed to pass a bucket filled with water from the source (a lake or well) from person to person until it was poured out to quench the flames.
Picture that chain, but insert a person along the way who, instead of passing on the water bucket simply says thank you and sets it aside as if it belonged to them alone. Instead of assisting others, now that this person has lots of buckets of water of their own, they criticized others that they are lacking in buckets. They judged the others to be insufficient, unworthy, unqualified, lacking.
This is what Paul accused in the behavior of the Jews of Rome. They had received the quenching water of God, given to the in the Law, handed down from Abraham to generation upon generation. But they had come to believe that it was for them, something to collect and hold that made them better than others. All of this while the fires, the needs for the word of God, grew hot in those in their own city.
But don’t we often do the exact same thing. We talk about being blessed, I’m so blessed, God had given me so many blessings, I’ve been blessed with this or that. But we forget that we aren’t a warehouse, we are in a fire fight against forces that seek to consume and destroy and there are others that thirst for the living word of Jesus Christ and the salvation it brings. We tend to collect our blessings and hoard them up, setting them on a shelf or doling them out sparingly to others as if there is a limited supply.
But Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, called to us and said “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”(John 7:37-38) I’m learning the quicker I pass along the blessings, the gospel, the joy, the love, the truth of Jesus Christ to others, the faster and more that God refills me. This is the difference between a river and a bucket – it has to flow.
They pass judgment on others for the same things they, themselves, are guilty of doing. God’s judgment is based on truth
Judgment is deciding who has done right and who has done wrong (CL) We say this person is good or condemn that person for evil and stay away from them. We judge others every day making snap decisions that are normally at the exclusion of God, it is what I think, not what God knows. It is easy to find fault in others, especially when we hold that fault ourselves. We do not approach it in correction or caring or love of good news but use the news to beat them with it.
God has blessed me so that I can be a blessing. In a study this week one person pointed out that we are to be roadways of blessings, not cul-de-sacs. Another way to think of it is we are distribution centers where we receive God’s blessing in bulk for the sole purpose of dispersing it to others, especially those who do not yet walk with God. So every blessing of God, the ones I count as good and the ones I see as trials or hardships, is from God and better equips me to spread the gospel.