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How Full Is Your Cup?
I never realized there could be so many answers to the question, “When you look at a cup do you see that it is half full or half empty?” An entrepreneur sees that the cup is waiting to be filled. A consultant says the problem is that you have too much cup. An accountant would insist that if the cup is a fixed cost, and the water is a variable cost, then the unused capacity should be considered a sipping expense. The marketer would advise that if we position the cup properly we could sell it to both the optimist and the pessimist. Ben Franklin once commented that the optimist is usually disappointed, while the pessimist is often pleasantly surprised. The Bible says, “My cup overflows” (Psalm 23:5), which really changes the whole way of looking at cups. A closer look at Psalm 23 gives us many reasons why our cups are indeed running over.
King David starts his song with the words, “The Lord is my shepherd I shall not be in want.” Then he remembers green pastures and still waters that restore the soul. These words are power packed with images that comfort us. Almost everyone has enjoyed time in a green pasture or beside a beautiful stream, and felt rejuvenated. When we spend any time reflecting on the countless ways God, as our shepherd, has taken care of us and provided for us we have to begin realizing that our cup is indeed overflowing.
When we are facing the most frightening experiences of life and death the words of Psalm 23:4 bring amazing comfort, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” I remember many times I have been in the hospital at the bedside of a dying friend. They know they are dying. They have denied it. They have gotten angry. They have bargained with God for more time. But now they are at peace, and we are having a class. I am the student, and the dying person is the professor. I am receiving a private tutorial on life from this dying person. The lessons I have learned are some of the most precious of my life. There is one lesson I hear over and over again. The words may change, but the meaning is the same. “I don’t know how people go through this without God and without their church family and their prayers.” Such lessons about life and death, and life everlasting will fill any cup up to overflowing.
Psalm 23:5 is the odd verse, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.” Who are these enemies? Why did God set a table for me? Why doesn’t God just take the enemies away? It is one of the certainties of life that we will struggle against some foe. Who is your foe? If you can’t think of one then think of someone who has hurt you the worst. It is probably someone you once loved very much, or want to love now, or are supposed to love. Those who can hurt us the most are those who we care about the most. The worst enemies are those with whom we never make peace. God is a God of reconciliation. He sets tables for us to make peace with our enemies. You can go to your enemy and make peace knowing God is there and desires peace in your life. It will fill your cup up to overflowing.
Finally, David’s song sings “I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever” (Psalm 23:6). Jesus said, “In my Father’s house there are many rooms…I am going there to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2). There is no more precious gift than the gift of eternal life with God. It means we need not fear death or evil. We can trust our lives to God in this life and in the next. Now that will fill your cup up to overflowing.
Let’s review. God restores us in our busy lives, God is there when we are facing death, God helps us find peace with our enemies, and God promises to give us eternal life! Have you decided whether your cup is half full, half empty, or is it overflowing? If your cup is overflowing then are there some ways you can help others, and fill up a few cups? I hope you will think about how you can fill up someone else’s cup, and go do that act of service today.