Monday, June 22, 2009

"My cup runneth over..."

"My cup runneth over..."
Psalm 23:5

Is your glass half empty or half full? How do you look upon your circumstances? With pessimism or optimism? The tendency, when things are going bad, is to view our circumstances in a negative manner. We feel as though the world is unfair and has singled us out as a dumping ground for trouble and trials. But when things are going good and our lives seem on track according to the world’s standards, we assume we are right where we need to be. We give no thought to the possibility we may be right smack dab in the eye of the storm, enveloped in a false sense of peace and security. We fail to consider that the worst of the storm may only be moments away and the half-filled tipping glass could drain completely.

Mankind wants instant gratification, especially in today’s fast-paced atmosphere. If we can not have it right now, a sense of unfairness settles over us and resentment begins to build. Instead of accepting the blessings as they come, we assume God cares little for us by only half-filling our glass. Like the Israelites who wandered the desert for forty years, we view His mercies as little and trite (Exodus 15-17). We think we are owed more than what He graciously gives and grumble for more. We want a full cup of our choosing, not one that is only partially filled.

The word “cup” in Scripture is used figuratively by God. The Lord never speaks of half-filled cups. Rather, He applies the term as if the cup is full to the brim and overflowing with whatever fills it. He also leaves it to us to decide what fills our cup. The choices are clear: consolation and salvation, or drunkenness and wrath. Psalm 23 speaks of a cup overflowing with God’s kindness, His abounding and endless love for mankind. But the term can also be applied with negative connotations for if we choose to fill it with the wine of worldliness and sin and drink it to its “dregs”, the bitterness of it will sour and turn our stomachs like bitter gall (Isaiah 51:17-22).

The Apostle Paul warned the people of Corinth against drinking from the “cup of demons” while attempting to also drink from the Lord’s cup (1 Corinthians 10:21-22). One’s cup can not be half-filled with God’s righteousness and the other half with the oiliness of sin. They do not mix and the oil always floats back up to the surface. We owe our entire allegiance to God if we identify with Christ’s death. We can not lead a double life and attempt to mix our cup half with the world and half with our Christianity.

Our Lord Jesus Christ came to drink from a cup that overflowed in a torrent of sin and damnation. His cup was His crucifixion, filled with the bitter gall of the sins of all mankind and He knew He must drink it to the last drop (Matthew 26:42). John and James, in their ignorance, failed to understand this when their mother requested positions of honor and authority for them (Matthew 20:20-28). Jesus knew beforehand they would also have to drink from the cup of martyrdom, but He reinforced His teachings on what it meant to first be a servant and then accept whatever reward God chose for them with gladness and thanksgiving.

So, with what is your cup filled? Is it a half-filled cup that offers nothing except the “dregs” of indecision, sorrow and bitterness? Or is it a cup filled to the brim and overflowing with God’s sweet wine of righteousness and blessings that are spoken of in Psalm 23? It is your choice and I pray you will fill your cup wisely. And because you eventually must make the choice, one thing is certain: as Jesus did, you will one day drink it in its entirety - to the very last drop.

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