Spread Thin

We use the phrase “spread thin” often to describe having to much to do and not enough time to do it. But we can be spread thin in other ways too.

A few weeks ago I was feeling spread thin but more emotionally rather than physically. While I was trying to figure out where this was coming from and why 2 thoughts came to mind.

First I thought of Bilbo Baggins from The Lord of the Rings series when he said “I feel…thin. Sort of stretched, like…butter scraped over too much bread.” I am sure we have all felt like that a time or two.


Then I thought of a diagram I have seen before about our growth in Christ as Christians. As we grow in the knowledge of ourselves and the knowledge of the perfection of God, what Christ has done for us grows greater and greater over time. Of course this doesn’t always happen. When we start to think we a better and greater over time we need Christ less. Conversely when we see Jesus as less perfect or as having a lower standard for us we also think we need him less. If we think either of these thoughts our view of Christ shrinks.

A few months ago I started to pray that I would grow in my knowledge and experience of the depth of sin and the greatness of God. Not that I wanted to sin more but wanted to more fully understand the depth of sin. I also started praying that I would understand and experience the depth of all that Christ has done for me and for those who are in Christ as Christians.

What occurred to me was that may be my feeling thin and stretched out, “like…butter scraped over too much bread.” was the experience that I had prayed for, and what the diagram illustrates. May be what Christ must have experienced as he died on the cross for our sins. Jesus bridged an incredibly huge gap between us and God. I think he felt stretched thin. As we are in Christ may be we to at times experience the same thing, being spread thin between the reality and depth of sin and the greatness and perfection of God.

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About Dan Butz

I work with Cru in Leadership Development.
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