Saturday, June 4, 2011
That is full.
I took this picture while visiting my family in Michigan a couple of months ago. We were having dinner at a local restaurant, and after i added my cream and sugar to this cup of coffee . . . well, it was too full to drink. I couldn't pick it up without spilling its contents. It was the epitome of full.
My pastor, Pastor Brian, from time to time, uses the word picture of a glass representing self. He talks about how if the only time you're spending time with God is when you come to church, then you're not going to have enough . . . stuff . . . peace, love, joy, good God stuff, in your "cup" to get you through the week. This is because, inevitably, by the time you make your way home from church on Sunday, someone will cut you off and make you slam on your brakes -- or the grocery store will be out of your favorite fried chicken that you were counting on for Sunday dinner -- or the grocery store will have your chicken, but the mid-adolescent expert on fried chicken behind the counter will use his gloved hand to wipe his nose right before he takes another customer's money and then comes over to grab your chicken with his gloved hands . . . or whatever. And then even though you will probably be all full of the love of God, since you just got out of church, and you probably won't cuss the guy who made you slam on your brakes -- or lose all your joy because dinner's going to have to be a pizza -- or forget to be gentle when you very kindly and lovingly ask that boy behind the counter to wash his hands and get some new gloves . . . or whatever . . . after happily and self-satisfactorily pay for your very sanitary fried chicken, who's to say that someone's shopping cart hasn't put a dent in the door of your freshly-washed-for-Sunday minivan? Who's to say? And then, getting back to Pastor Brian's metaphor now, is there any love left in your cup? Or is your cup now empty, having spent all its love on the fried chicken boy? What do you have now? You have a grumpy sanitary chicken Sunday dinner, with complaining potato salad on the side. That's what you have. Why? Because your cup was empty. (I love this metaphor, by the way. Sometimes, i can see my cup sloshing while i'm trying to pull out of the church parking lot.)
What's the remedy? The remedy is being sure to spend time with the Lord every day. Reading and studying His word and praising and worshiping Him and sharing your heart with Him and listening to Him every day. (Those of you who just moaned at this exceedingly predictable and boring answer, please continue reading.)
Because the idea is that your heart and soul and spirit and mouth should be as full of the love of Jesus as that coffee cup is full of coffee -- so full, that when someone bumps you (or cuts you off, or snots on your chicken), the love of God just spills out all over the place. And it just keeps spilling because your cup just keeps being filled. Even if you use up the whole cup by Tuesday morning, it's still being filled over and over again. And you just can't help loving everyone and everything around you.
Now, let's test this on reality.
This morning, i had a busy day ahead, and i took time to read my Bible and reflect this morning before leaving the house. While traveling down the road, i happily prayed and sang praise songs along with the radio. I was having a great start to my day.
There's a song on the radio that i really enjoy called "Hold Me." When this song comes on when i'm in my car, passersby may notice that the radio gets really loud, and i car dance and sing loud and groove to the music like a teenager, because i really enjoy this song. This morning, Hold Me came on the radio, just as i went to pull on to the freeway and saw multiple construction crews, bumper-to-bumper traffic, and no outlets left to let me escape from the madness. The happy jiving had already started, and my radio volume was already bumping my little car along, when all the happiness was interrupted by a loud and bad-attitude-filled, "Oh CRAP!"
Who said that? Oh, it was me. Mrs. Full Cup, just-got-done-praying-but-still-filling-the-air-with-some-ugly-"Christian cussing,"-Rogers. That's who. What's wrong with me? Here, God, with the ability to see traffic ahead of time, blesses my extended trip with my favorite song just in time, and i "crap" all over it. That's not right. What happened to my cup?
To be honest, i'm not sure. Maybe my cup is kept about a quarter full by my wrote good-Christian-habits, and that's only enough to help me be kind to my husband and keep me out of everyone's way when i'm grumpy. I don't know. Really, i don't. I don't have any special lesson for you. Just this - that my cup was full enough that i immediately checked my stinky attitude and remembered Who was riding with me. I still got to sort of enjoy the second half of my song. And the rest of my day did reflect that my cup wasn't truly empty. Maybe His grace is sufficient even when my cup has a momentary leak (or the bottom falls out of it unexpectedly). I'm still going to keep going to get full. 'Cause if my cup has a leak, i need to be extra full. Especially as much i drive.
Posted by Beth at 5:59 PM