Are we holding our life back from full surrender and complete sacrifice? Paul compared his life to the Old Testament drink offering on more than one occasion. He said to the Church in Philippi, “Yes, and if I am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. For the same reason, you also be glad and rejoice with me.” (Philippians 2:17–18) He once again writes to the faithful believers from prison, towards the end of his life, and exhorts them, his faith family, not to be sad but to be glad for him. He encourages them to rejoice as his life and ministry journey ends.

On another occasion, when he writes personally to Timothy, he says, “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:6–8) He acknowledges that his end was soon approaching as his pouring out had begun. Yes, he had run his race well and was coming to the finish line as we all will one day if God tarries. 

But what does he mean by poured out? This alludes to the drink offerings accompanying the sacrifices under the old covenant. (See Numbers 15:1–16) The offering was not complete until the drink was offered with the sacrifice. Once the drink offering was poured out on the ground, it could never be put back in the container. Paul says, “I am giving everything and am almost done for I have not much more to give but my all.” (Philippians 2:17 paraphrased) 

At the end of our lives, will we be able to say we gave our all to God like Paul? I hope we all will. But for many, the cares of this life have distracted them from the covenant partnership as God’s image bearers (See Mark 4:18ff; Genesis 1:27). At the end of our lives will we have a half-full vessel that will be robbed by death, or will we have to pour ourselves out completely, having stored up treasures in the kingdom of God? We cannot put our offering back in the bottle, but we can hold back and give little or nothing at all of our life in the service of God. You can’t get back what you give, but you can hide your gifts and love from the world.