FILL MY CUP
(Introductory comment: The context is still Psalm Twenty-Three. Admittedly, the “study” has perhaps been a bit protracted. I had no idea it would last this long, but it has seemed to me almost every corner has offered fresh, new opportunities for thought and growth. Please forgive me if I’ve been selfishly pre-occupied. The ideas and words the Psalmist selected are so wise, beautiful, and well chosen they just seemed to me to merit close, careful attention. I’d really welcome your sharing your own insights into the Psalm and considering the responses which have been offered. –dk)
Last time we visited this site, I told you what I felt the Psalmist meant when he said his “cup” was running over. Almost anytime you’re trying to define anything, it seems to help if you see by contrast what it IS NOT. I hope you noticed that I don’t dismiss material “blessings.” I’m simply saying I don’t believe in God’s mind it is a primary consideration, or some way of determining who’s “blessed” or not. And it is most surely NOT a standard by which we should (or can) measure ourselves in comparison with others. And, equally, it provides no basis upon which we can judge (look down upon them) or be “awed” by the status of their “cup.”
For years I kept a copy of “Desiderata” framed on the wall in my office. Embedded in that great piece of thinking was a comment that helps me keep a proper perspective: “If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter. For always there will be greater and letter persons than yourself.” In other words, there are always people who have more. . . or less. . . of anything than I do. So reason tells me that the criteria we often use to judge success or failure in God’s sight, are simply not valid criteria. That served to remind me that everything I may have is more a gift than an achievement. Like the Apostle Paul, I find no cause for boasting. . . except in the marvellous Grace of God and the supremely magnificent Gift of His only begotten Son!
With that out of the way, now I’ve been trying to come to terms with what it means to have your “cup” running over and put it in words that haven’t been “worn out.”
You don’t have to be real smart to figure out that, in a context such as this, having your “cup” running over simply suggests having more than enough. More than you actually need. Now or ever. Christ said He had come in order that we “might have life. . . and have it more abundantly.” In a dry, desert land which seems always parched and thirsty, He once told a lady with a dubious reputation: “If anyone drinks the water which I give him, he will never thirst again. Out of his belly shall flow RIVERS OF LIVING WATERS.”
When Paul spoke of the generous grace of God, he said God is “able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we can ask or think.” Try taking that sentence apart and notice how the apostle stacks adjectives on top of each other trying to express a lavish love that is inexpressible in any language. If God were simply able to do something we ask, wouldn’t that would be a good thing? But, all that we ask or even think! You can’t even encircle that enormous possibility in your wildest, widest imagination! And elsewhere he declared: “Eye has not seen, neither has the ear heard, nor has it entered into the hearts of man” what God has in store for those who love Him and whom He loves.
The “contents” of the cup strike me as being of a spiritual nature and have to do with something which provides deep, lasting, meaning and satisfaction. Contentment. It’s interesting to note that the “things” which seem to be most important to God are never “things.” They seldom, if ever, have to do with anything which can rot, or rust, lose value, wear out, or get broken or stolen. They are almost always in the area of ideas, or concepts like: Love, Hope, Eternal Life, Peace, Joy, Justice, Righteousness.
In my mind I’ve been constructing what I’m calling a “thought Garden.” I just plant “seeds” as they occur, make notes as I’m able, and let them develop. One of the ideas on which I dwelt not long ago is: “What’s Left?” As my thoughts unfolded, I asked myself what would happen (hypothetically, hopefully) if I lost everything and everyone of value to me? There’s always that possibility, you know? If my world caved in or went up in flames, what would be left?
The Apostle Paul certainly must have had something like that in mind when he spoke to the young Church at Corinth about what really matters. And what may not be so important after all in the long run. He wrapped up a brilliant “sermon” about what will last and what will “pass away” saying: “Now abides (that means it stays after everything else has lost its value, been destroyed or forgotten) Faith, Hope, and Love.”
There. That is some of the “stuff” with which I’d like to have the “cup” of my life filled and overflowing. If that is what God values most, I expect I’d be wise to pay at least as much attention to what they are as I do to what I eat or drink or wear. Or what I make, or how I spend it, or how I invest.
While I’ve been wrapping up my thoughts on this post, I’ve been humming some lines from Richard Blanchard’s beautiful song:
Fill my cup, Lord. I lift it up, Lord
Come and quench this thirsting of my soul
Bread of Heaven, feed me till I want no more
Fill my cup, fill it up and make me whole
I’m still working on this. What do YOU think?
His servant, your friend and fellow student, donkimrey
I must admit, never before this study have I given so much thought to the “contents” of my spiritual cup. And I must fess up, I’ve cluttered my life with an assortment of things that “rot, rust, lose value, wear out, and get broken”. However, my cup ebbs and flows with an abundance of love, hope, peace, and joy as well. The “ebbs” are always of my doing. The “flowing abundance” is always of God.
My fervent prayer, upon studying this lesson, is that all our cups be filled-to-abundance from the Rivers of Living Waters that Jesus spoke about, and that we share that abundance with each other, particularly during the ebbs of our lives.
Thanks, Don, for making me “think”.
When my world caved in it was then God’s turn to get my attention. I took advantage of that time to let my soul and spirit heal . I spent a year reading the Bible through so as to understand what God expected from me and what He was up to! ergo, “Now abides Faith, Hope and Love”
Praise God from whom all blessings flow-
Hello Don…Have finally had time to read all your “messages”. What a wonderful service you are so diligently providing for all Christians and nonbelievers who might be just a little curious about God’s word. I know personally how much serving the Lord means to you. I also know how much you want everyone to be filled and saved by God’s word. You are truly one of God’s “special agents” giving precious time, energy, and prayer to these “messages”.
God has blessed you so that others may know what you have spent years learning and practicing daily…..Your Friend in California. 🙂
I’m glad that you called today. It was a joy to speak with you and to know that the “Alamance News” newspaper article meant so much to you.
I want to invite you to our 101st anniversary Homecoming this September 14th at 11am. You will find a lot of folks there who’d love to see you—including your cousins, Adell, Bonnie, and Mattie.
Keep at your blog, brother; it’ll bless others but maybe more importantly, it’ll bless you!
I am Barbara from England. You read my e-mail to Ebby about the suffering of children in Africa. It seems you have no clear answers to my question. I feel that with so many different religions in the world today, the scriptures of Jesus have been interpreted in many ways to suit their beliefs, and that is the cause of all the wars and suffering in the world today. You can now say you have an international blog!
I surfed into your blog this morning as I googled the phrase “when I am dry you fill my cup” (from a worship song). Sometimes I do that for no apparent reason; just to see what comes up.
I was pondering something I had read that stuck with me – unconditional love is like the oil in an engine. Without it, your engine (soul) just won’t run; something is broken. There is also a cliche in a similar vein – you can’t pour out of an empty cup. The sense is that in order to be a vessel of love to others, we have to first receive it from God or else we’re “running on empty”. So, this would be my answer to your post on “my cup runneth over” – no, of course it has nothing to do with prosperity or material blessings. Our cup “runneth over” when we really let ourselves believe that God, our Abba Father and His Son Jesus, our brother and dearest Friend, really truly do love us. They LIKE us (they….maybe “He” is more appropriate than they; since we are both Trinitarians I’m going to assume you know what I mean and we won’t quibble about semantics) – but we’re “filed up” (even running over) when we get a glimpse of that tender love God feels toward us.
I’m going to admit that that is very difficult for me. I believe it intellectually, but how do you “experience” it? It is not esoteric or mystical. Love is intangible; what does it “feel” like to be loved? Especially if you have felt the pain of being unloved in your human relationships. You maybe can’t “feel” it, but you can accept it on faith. Sometimes God gives you a personal message of how much He loves you – just an encouragement. Like when a particular Scripture leaps off the page and burns itself into your heart. But the short answer to that question is, the cup runneth over with the Father’s agape love. It’s so much more than we can fathom or imagine. When we ask Him, “Do You love me?” (as I often do), it’s doubt. We don’t realize often how much our “cup” really is flooded. Amy Carmichael wrote that God’s love is like the air we breathe – we can’t see it, but it’s all around us.
Great thoughts on your Scripture blog!