Are you a Duct or a Dam?
By Dr. Ken Matto
(Mat 5:42 KJV) Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.
From the Merriam Webster 2003 Dictionary:
Duct - A pipe, tube, or channel that conveys a substance
Dam - To stop up : Block
When we look at the two contrasting words, they also represent two contrasting lifestyles. A duct is a passageway used to convey or transport a substance whether it be water, air, or whatever. A dam is used to stop up or to block something such as water. When we think of a dam, we probably think of Hoover Dam which is very famous.
We must pose a very important question when we do any kind of introspection. Am I a dam or am I a duct? A duct is a person who has caught the ministry spirit and uses whatever means they have to send forth the Gospel. A dam is a person who has not caught the ministry vision and just continues to use all their worldly goods for themselves. The gifts and blessings of God are dammed up in that personís life and is not allowed to flow into Kingdom work. The Bible is replete with very poor people who gave out of their poverty to see the Gospel go forth and that is because they looked beyond this earth to eternal life and realize that we are here for a purpose and that purpose is to send forth the Gospel into the entire world.
One person we can look at who was not selfish was the widow who placed two mites in the temple treasury. (Luke 21:2 KJV) And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites. Now she did not do that for notoriety but out of sincerity. If she would have done that for her own glory, Jesus would have instantly known her motives but He emphasized her action as being selfless and without agenda. She had very little but she was a duct. I have a Mite from the first century and they are definitely very small coins. They are not expensive and would be good to have one on hand for a visual testimony of what the Lord emphasized was a bigger gift than what the wealthy were placing in the temple treasury.
Another good example is the churches of Macedonia who were in great poverty, yet chose to send a nice gift with the Apostle Paul for the poor Saints at Jerusalem. (2 Cor 8:1-2 KJV) Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia; {2} How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. This church, in the midst of great poverty, chose to be a duct and not a dam. They looked beyond themselves and saw the needs of others and did the right thing.
Now a Christian need not be only a duct with money, but also their talents. If the Lord has given you a talent, it is to be used in Kingdom work. (Acts 9:39 KJV) Then Peter arose and went with them. When he was come, they brought him into the upper chamber: and all the widows stood by him weeping, and showing the coats and garments which Dorcas made, while she was with them. Dorcas had the ability to make clothes and when she made them, she gave them to people who were in need. She could have used her talents to open up a store and sell her wares, which would have been perfectly legitimate but it seems she had her sights set on something more than that and that was being a good Christian and helping where help was needed. She chose to be a duct and not dam up her talents for money.
So we see three examples from Scripture which we can take our lead from concerning whether our Christian lives are ducts or dams. Let us look at some areas of our lives to see if we have become a duct or a dam.
Am I a duct or dam in my finances?
We have briefly looked at two examples of very liberal giving, one by an individual and one by a church. When we get our paycheck, what is the first item we budget? How much of my paycheck does the Lord see? Now He fully understands that we need to live out of that check and He is not expecting you to give 100% but He is not expected to be excluded either. Do we dam up the Lordís money by incessant buying or hoarding in fear of the next day? The widow who gave those two mites was concentrating on the fact that she was not just giving to the Temple, but she was giving her money to God and the Kingdom. We must look beyond the ministry or church we donate to and realize that there is a greater cause we are giving to, and that is the ministry of the Gospel. We must make sure that if we are ducts of the Lordís finances that the organizations we give to are not dams. Is your church a dam or a duct for Gospel dissemination? Many churches are private kingdoms of the pastor and if this is the case, your money will be dammed up, you can still attend but send your money to a ministry which is a duct.
Am I a duct or dam in use of my time?
When I am not working what am I doing? Am I using my time wisely for the Kingdom or am I damming up the time by focusing only on activities I like to do such as watching sports on TV. Whenever we dedicate our time to the Lord, it becomes a duct because we are not damming up the time. By damming up the time, I mean that we do things which are focused on us, that do not have any relation to sending forth the Gospel. When we do not send forth the Gospel, we have dammed up the time. Damming time is time wasted on activities which are of no spiritual value. Now we have to cut the grass, take care of the home, fix the car, etc., so there are things which we have to do in this life which are necessities. When they are done, what do we do with our time beyond that? Whenever I dam the time in my life, the Gospel does not flow from anything I do until I change the time from dam to duct and release the flow of the Gospel. (Psa 90:12 KJV) So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.  The Scripture warns us that we are to number our days and realize that every time we waste time, it can never be reclaimed. I pity the Christian who does nothing with their life for the sake of the Gospel. Try to do just one thing every day for the Gospel.
Am I a duct or dam with my talents?
If the Lord has given me some talent, will I only use it when I get paid or glorified? We saw that Dorcas had the talent to make clothing and she made the clothing and gave them to the widows. Dorcas was a duct for her talent because she gave away the coats and this brought glory to God. God has given each Christian a talent which is different from the spiritual gifts. If I have the talent to help send the Gospel forth, whether by music, or even by construction in helping build things like churches or even different small projects which can be used in Gospel propagation, do I use it? Do I hide my talents so no one knows I have them and this way I wonít have to be tied down doing something else than what pleases me? Is that your attitude? If it is then you are damming up the talents the Lord has given you. When you use the talents the Lord has given you, even in the smallest projects, you have become a duct and when people become saved, it brings Glory to God and you will be used of the Lord for further tasks.
Am I a duct or dam with my words?
Do I find it easier to speak about sports or something other than the Gospel? What about when you are in a church or other Christian setting? When someone brings up a teaching which is in error, do you correct that teaching or do you fear you will be an outcast? (Acts 20:27 KJV) For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. It is the responsibility of every Christian to bring the whole counsel of God and not to clip off any parts which others may find offensive. (Gal 5:11 KJV) And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased. What Christians must realize is that the Lord Jesus Christ is an offense to everyone that does not believe and the true Gospel is an offense because it challenges our prideful and sinful desires. Whenever we trim the gospel to make it more appealing or even trim the truth with other Christians, then I have become a dam. Whenever we allow the truth of the whole Gospel to flow freely from our lips, we have become a duct which holds much more value than a dam. So do I dam up the truth or do I let it flow?
Am I a duct or dam when it comes to the needs of others?
Now this is different than having a talent because others may have needs and if we have the ability to meet them and we donít, then we have become a dam. Now some of the needs which we may meet are like someone needing a ride to the doctor, someone who may need shopping done, someone may need a load of laundry done, etc. It may be something that does not require a specific talent. There are many people out there with needs and also many in the church that have needs and maybe you could be one to volunteer if you have some time or you can organize a few people as helpers. This will not cause you to become saved but if you are already a Christian, it can help expand your ministry and testimony. (Psa 54:4 KJV) Behold, God is mine helper: the Lord is with them that uphold my soul. In Psalm 54, God is referred to as ďDavidís helper.Ē If God writes about Himself as being Davidís helper, can we be any less with an example like that? The word ďhelperĒ in the Hebrew carries the meaning of one who aids or brings relief from distress or suffering. So are you a dam or a duct when you become aware of the needs of others?
Am I a duct or dam with my material goods?
How do I react when the use of my material good are needed for the Kingdom of God? Suppose someone in my church has need to create a flyer about an upcoming event at the church and I have the proper software on my computer to help, do I keep my mouth shut and dam up the progress of the event or do I become a duct and help in promotion? The Lord has given us all material goods and they are not only for our needs but to be used when called upon for the work of the Kingdom. (Psa 24:1 KJV) A Psalm of David. The earth is the LORD'S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. Psalm 24:1 teaches plainly that everything in this world belongs to the Lord, even your computer. Now there are many of our possessions which we can use for the Kingdom of God and it may be something simple as loaning someone a CD or cassette tape of a sermon. We are only stewards of the material goods we have in our possession and that is why we are not to dam them up but to be a duct for the Kingdom of God.
Each Christian must make an assessment of their lives to see if they are a dam or a duct. No Christian is to live unto themselves but to seek the will of God and the ministry He has for us. We looked at six items which are existent in the life of every Christian and we needed to ask if we are a dam or a duct for these things. If I withhold my finances from giving to the Lordís work, then the Lord may withhold financial blessings in my own life. Many Christians are cheap and that is why they run into financial struggles because God wants to teach them that giving liberally is the normal Christian life. We are to be ready to volunteer ourselves and the material goods which God has given us. We must never be a dam to the progress of the Kingdom of God in this world but we must always be a duct in all areas of our lives. If we are dams, then we need to ask God to give us the spirit of generosity so we may always be ducts for the Glory of God.