35 DIVINE EXTRAVAGANCE “My cup runneth over…”

 For quite a while I’ve been pondering the last few phrases of  “The Shepherd Song.”  As always, I ask you to consider Scripture first, before you think about what I’m thinking. 

      I believe we’ll agree that the analogy with which the Psalm began sort of “shifts gears” or changes toward the end. Instead of the Lord being our “Shepherd” and our being His “sheep,” it sounds a little different now, doesn’t it?  Sheep don’t eat at tables.  Or get their heads “annointed with oil.”  Or drink from cups that are “running over.”  At least, no sheep I’ve ever known outside Gary Larsen’s comic strip.

     “My Cup Runs over.”  I’m not sure exactly what that means. 

      What do YOU think?

     This is a phrase with which I’ve wrestled for quite some time.  I know the Scriptures speak about the lavish love God displays for His children.  But I’m honestly not able to just glibly say something on this phrase.  I’m not certain we really understand what it means when we say our “cup runs over.” 

     When I see people living in more house than they need or can afford, and hear them say: “It’s a blessing from God,” I just kinda scratch my head and wonder.  Or when I see people driving obscenely luxurious automobiles, yachts, planes, etc., and say “God provided it,” I scratch my head again and it isn’t because I have dandruff.  Gold plumbing, air-conditioned and heated dog houses?  God provided that?  Really?  Is that a reliable sign that your “cup runneth over?”  Or could it be a sign of obscene, self-indulgent extravagance? 

     One of the most vulgar scenes I believe I’ve ever seen on television was one night a while back when a famous “televangelist” had his musical entourage perform.  The members of the group were beautifully coiffed, handsomely attired in formal evening wear, and their harmony was flawless.  They performed very smoothly, gracefully strolling under colored lights in and out among luxurious autos (a Cadillac convertible, a Rolls, and one or two other beautiful, expensive machines).  They were singing: “The Old Rugged Cross!!” 

     How does that make someone feel who has no paycheck and may not know where their next meal is coming from?  Or how they’ll pay medical bills?  Or where they’ll live?

       When we’re “rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing”  (in the way of material things). . . does that mean our “cup runs over?”

       My immediate reaction is that I don’t think the phrase means unlimited material prosperity.  In fact, I’m quite certain that is NOT what it means.  I’ve never placed any stock in any superficial ministerial mentality that would reduce Christianity to a prosperity cult.  Not when I see a Man brutally, publicly executed like He was a common criminal and then had to be buried in a borrowed tomb.  Not after I’ve heard Him say: “The foxes have holes.  The birds of the air have nests.  But the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” Or, “If any one would come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”

       I’m certain you’re aware of the statement that the difference between a pessimist and an optimist is that the pessimist sees the glass “half empty.”  The optimist sees the glass “half full.”  Some things do depend upon your point of view.  But you cannot wonder whether something is “overflowing” or not.  It would be apparent.  The question is: “With WHAT is the cup overflowing?” 

      OF COURSE the house is a blessing.  Of course, so is the auto and your other possessions. ALL your possessions.  And your wife and your life. As well as every breath you draw and every heartbeat.  “Every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father above,” and it is a right and good thing that we “praise God from whom all blessings flow.”  But it might improve our perspective if we realize the Eternal God is probably not as preoccupied with temporary “trinkets” as we are.  When He really, truly fills our lives so that our “cups run over,” you may rest assured it is not going to be simply more “stuff.” 

       In this case, the Psalmist is speaking of abundance.  What I call: DIVINE  EXTRAVAGANCE.  The cup is “running over.”

Running over with what?  Would you take that to mean he has more “stuff” than he needs or ever can use or give away.  And one day he’ll leave it all behind, unable to drag it with him “through the valley of the shadow of death?”  We can allow ourselves to become intoxicated with the idea of bigger and better homes.  Faster, more expensive cars.  Finer clothes.  And NONE OF IT will fill the God-shaped vacuum at the center of the soul, much less causes our “cup” to “run over.”

      Do you know anyone who’s “rich” in possessions and miserable in almost every other way?   Their “cup” has been “running over” with accomplishments and  acquisitions, but nothing ever seems to be enough.  And their souls are like a “troubled sea when it cannot rest.”  Churning, and always yearning for more and bigger and better “stuff,” yet always  lamenting (even if perhaps privately) that they “can’t get no satisfaction.”           

       David had to be thinking about something else.  He HAD TO BE THINKING OF SOMETHING ELSE.

How about your “cup?”  Ever give serious thought to that?  Empty?  Half full?  What’s in it?  I’m convinced something can be done about that, and for my part I intend to lift my “cup” toward the Lord and ask Him to fill it to overflowing with the “right stuff.”

                                                HIs servant, your friend and fellow student, donkimrey

(F.Y.I.   If you’d like to participate and post a comment, just scroll down maybe another half inch or so.  IF THE TYPE IS TOO SMALL, YOU CAN PRESS THE “COMMAND” OR “CONTROL” BUTTON AND THE + SIGN AT THE SAME TIME, IT WILL ENLARGE THE TYPE.)  

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11 responses to “35 DIVINE EXTRAVAGANCE “My cup runneth over…”

  1. Layne Lockamy

    Dear Don, What a wonderful study. “A Shepherd Looks at the 23rd Psalm” is a good book for this sudy, also. It is all too rare that mankind learns to appreciate and value things unseen and spiritual. It would seem our nature dictates that we must go through trials, strife and hit the proverbial rock bottom, before we can understand “my cup runneth over”. However, when I laid prostrate on the ground and asked the Lord to come into my life

  2. Layne Lockamy

    after years of addition, I now drink from this cup that I did not earn but was given gladly! Runneth over ? with? blessings, blessings, blessings and then more blessings !! A good honest life. A Saviour who loves and takes care of me! and my cup still runneth over !!
    Till He Comes, Layne

  3. You asked the questions: “How about your ”cup?” Ever give serious thought to that? Empty? Half full? What’s in it?” …Your study is very thought-provoking, Don, and you’re right, we do need to give thought to our own cups. Half-full? Half-empty? I suppose it depends on what a cup is full of. I’ll bet it’s difficult/impossible to add blessings to a cup that is already over-flowing with “stuff”. Perhaps God waits for some cups to empty themselves so he can divinely fill them to over-flowing……

    Again, Don, great study! Thanks.

    Ebby

  4. Layne Lockamy

    Fill My Cup – And if all were lost what would be left? The only thing on and by which anything can be built – LOVE. To me – and also to me you are right on the nails head – the cup is spiritual, and with those blessing we build our material wealth. Good going don !! Making me thing too much !!
    Till He Returns Layne

  5. Just like you, I don’t believe the cup runs over with stuff. I have been pondering over the same part of the passage. My thougt is that my cup runneth over with the oil that I was just annointed with. More and more annointing. More and more devine assignments!

    • Thank you so much for your thoughtful comments. When I study Scripture, I’m always blessed when I listen and obey the word of God. When someone else benefits in some way, that just doubles my blessing! Hope you’ll stay in touch and I look forward to conversing with you. I’ve also just completed a book, and when you go to the blog and click on the Godscomebackkids icon you can get an idea of what I’m trying to accomplish. On my blog currently I am considering the meaning of the Incarnation as we approach the holiday season. I’m considering words we’ve used so often without giving a lot of thought to their meaning. For example, what is joy? Or glory? Or Messiah? Or Lord? In today’s culture, how can we really understand those huge ideas?

      God bless you for taking time to offer this insight and encouragement. Do you have a blog or a website? Are you in the U.S.? I look forward to knowing you. ~don

  6. Just knowing I am in the presence of the Lord and that He loves me is a picture of my cup running over. Without anything, even in the worst state, even if I were dying…my cup would be running over because of God’s grace. He has forgiven me and loves me and is giving me an eternal life that I do not deserve. See, I am so unworthy of anything. So anything I receive (good health, children, fresh air, food, water, shelter, electricity, the ability to work, friends, family, love, joy, laughter, etc) then each little and big thing is a blessing. To me, blessings could even be something negative, like a job loss, or sickness because God knows the whole picture and if something negative brings me closer to God, you guessed it, another blessing. God blesses me so much through each second of the day, it is impossible to keep up with them all. Material things are a different category to me all together. To Him be the glory!

  7. Deidre, amen! BEAUTIFULLY put!

  8. Patrick Conlon

    On Palm Sunday, the Priest challenged us to ask ourselves, “What kind of Christian will we be, this coming week?”

    As I squirmed and began to think about that question, my answer was; to spend more time in meditation and prayer and that perhaps the answer would be provided by the Holy Spirit…….or not……

    While in a fit of such fervor, a question came to my mind, “What is it going to take in order for me to achieve eternal life?”

    The below are clues from Scripture about this subject…..to paraphrase, the old lefthander, Joe Nuxhall, who used to say at the end of every Reds broadcast, “rounding third and heading for home”……to life, ever after….

    Is it as simple as by our belief in God? In John 3:30 it reads,”Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life.” Does that mean that because we believe, we will receive God’s Grace and thus we will live the eternal life? If we try to follow God’s commandments, are we in, with the in crowd?

    Or does it take more than mere faith?

    Here is one to ponder in Matthew 7:13. Jesus speaks that “the gate to life is narrow and the way that leads to it is hard, and there are few people who will find it.” Jesus continues in Matthew 7:21 this same theme …… and Luke 13:24 covers the “narrow gate” concept in similar detail.

    Then there is the unsettling (to me) passage in Matthew 19:16 / Luke 18:18 / Mark 10:17: “it will be very hard for rich people to be to enter the kingdom of heaven”. Jesus continued “I repeat: it is much harder for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven than for a camel to go through the eye of a needle”…. Gulp! After all, we Americans are in the upper 5 -10 % of the wealthiest children of God, living on his blue earth. How many of us have succumbed to the hedonistic life style that is America……

    The parable of the three servants in Luke 19:11 and Matthew 25:14 is a rather blunt assessment of those who do not multiply one’s talents, by doing the work of the Lord. In the passage, the third Servant, who only protected the talents that the Master gave, ended up with this outcome at the hand of his Master” Throw him outside into the darkness: there he will cry and gnash his teeth”….OUCH!

    If you are not familiar, I would suggest you read Matthew 25:31, the Final Judgment passage……Jesus for emphasis, repeated his litany, three times, lest we not misunderstand, how we will be judged….

  9. The “Cup” is a hallowed-out block of stone about 30 inches long, 18 inches wide, and 18 inches deep. Cups are located by many wells and springs scattered through the Judean wilderness. The shepherd scoops up water, pouring it into the cup. Because the cup has been in the blazing sun, he keeps pouring water in. overflowing the cup, until the cup is cooled. He then calls the sheep to drink, never stopping his pouring. He makes sure the water stays cool, and sees to it that the sheep have more than enough.

    Even if the sheep back away to rest for a moment before drinking more, the good shepherd keeps the cup “Running Over” to make sure his sheep have flesh, running water.

    Yes, the sheep can testify and say “My cup runneth over”. How wonderful our Shepherd is to give us “New Mercies every morning and benefits every day.

    Psalms 68:19
    19 Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah.

    I copied this from sermoncentral.com ….. testimony of sheep….

    also cup is overflowing with the eternal care of the Great Shepherd

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