The Colorado River, sourced high in the Rockies, is famous for carving out the Grand Canyon among other wonders of the southwest US. It is also a source of drinking water for 40 million people, including the cities of LA, San Diego, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Tucson, and others. It flows all the way to the Gulf of California in Mexico -- well, it's supposed to, anyway.
In 1963, dam projects in the United States to meet the demands for fresh water for a growing population slowed the flow of the river. Consequently, there have only been a handful of times the mighty Colorado has actually reached the Gulf of California.
Our rivers bring fresh nutrients to salt water, causing plant life, plankton, and fish populations to be healthy. Since the river stopped flowing to the sea, the fish have disappeared, but so too have the wetlands in Mexico (and their wildlife). A treaty between the US and Mexico has restored some season flow of the Colorado, and the fish and wildlife are returning once again.
Rivers are meant to flow to the sea.
It's the same with God's grace. It doesn't just flow to me. I don't get to dam it up and create a reservoir of grace for myself. The grace of God -- in it's various forms -- is meant to flow through me, so that the streams of living water could bring new life to others.
When I was a kid, a new pastor came to town. Within weeks of his arrival, he baptized me. He was just what I needed in my life. His words convicted me; his affirmation rescued me; his welcome changed me. As I said at his funeral a couple weeks ago, he was God's grace to me -- just what I needed when I needed it.
That is how the Body of Christ works: God gives a portion of his grace to each of us so we can be God's grace to each other. The Spirit of God works among us and through us as we continue the work of Jesus. That is why we've been given "spiritual gifts". "To each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it" (Ephesians 4:7). We take what we've been given, and it passes through us to build up the Body of Christ.
We are conduits of God's grace, and as it passes through us, our spirit is made new, too. I hope you will be part of this life-giving flow of God's grace!