One of my favorite poems is the “Love Song of J. Alfred Proofrock.” T. S. Eliot wrote this poem to capture the stoic image of a man who was afraid to take chances in life. He wanted to approach a maiden but couldn’t take 21 coffee spoonsthe chance of rejection. He lived of himself and to himself. The song is about his failed attempt to come out of himself and live life in a real significant way, but alas, he failed again. He resigns himself to his destiny with resolve and disappointment. He looks forward to his future with remorse, sadness, and melancholy boredom. He says, “I’ve known them all before. I’ve known them all! I’ve known the mornings, the evenings and the afternoons. I’ve measured out my life in coffee spoons.”

That’s certainly not the case with the Apostle Paul. He was a man of great extreme experiences in life and yet loved them all. In Philippians 4:12 he writes, “I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.” Paul lived a life of great adventure. He ventured beyond his comfort zone with a world view and a passion for sharing the Love of God with the entire world. Upon his conversion he seemed to have understood that God had a calling on his life and purpose to be fulfilled. It was a purpose that would take him to the most distant places in the known world. He even dreamed beyond his travels to the uttermost ends of the earth to a place called Spain. Maps from hundreds of years later would say in the westward seas, “here there be dragons.” Yes, Paul was a man of great courage and adventure and there was no measuring out his life in coffee spoons. He seemed to have scooped his life out upon the world in soup ladles.

The Apostle Paul was the living proof of the truth of Proverbs 11:24. It says, “One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want.” Paul poured himself out upon the world in a way few ever have or ever will and he claims to be all the richer for it. A tight-fisted J. Alfred Proofrock ends up the poorer, while the open handed man becomes the richer and wealthier although he has little. Speaking about Christian giving, Paul puts it this way: “he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully” (2 Cor. 9:6). It is true with our wealth and it is true with our lives. Are you a “coffee spoon” or a “soup ladle” kind of person?