I have especially learned gratitude for all those moments when the unexpected has transformed my life into an abundant cup of blessings. ~Joyce Rupp
My mother’s files and notebooks hold a wealth of spiritual lessons. The inspiration for this post was found among them.
We cup our hands around the thin china, heat seeping through to warm our hands. This daily rhythm around the world connects us in a way coffee never can. Over the amber hue of black tea, the mellow flavor of green tea, or the more expensive white tea of Asia, friendships are formed or grown. Around the world, 38 billion cups of tea are consumed every day.
Despite the comment above about coffee, 400 million cups of the dark liquid warm us and awaken us each day. Add to that hot cider and hot chocolate, we are a cuppa world.
We sip tea from fragile china or curl our hands around thick pottery brimming with coffee. There are Biblical cups in Scripture, too. Cups filled, not with coffee or tea, but with kindness, blessings, and even sorrow.
1. Cup of Blessings
The Psalmist, once a lowly shepherd boy, likens the Lord to a shepherd. He writes how God supplies his needs, how He leads, restores, and anoints. By the time David compiled the blessings of the Shepherd, he was blessed beyond measure, writing, My cup runs over (Psalm 23). Someone said, “It’s not joy that makes us grateful, it’s gratitude that makes us joyful.” Write a list of your blessings and your cup will run over.
2. Cup of Kindness
Jesus taught, If you give a cup of cold water to the least of my followers, you will surely be rewarded (Matthew 10:42). Kindness doesn’t need to be a large act, just a simple kindness, a cup of water or a gift card for the coffee shop, a smile or quick hug, an hour of childcare or a plate of cookies. Jesus tells us, When you do it to these my brothers, you are doing it to me (Matthew 25:40).
3. Cup of Sorrow and Suffering
This cup is harder to swallow. Jeremiah said, He has…given me a cup of deepest sorrow to drink (Lamentations 3:15). Jesus, too, talks about His cup of suffering: If it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt (Matthew 26:39).
4. The Dirty Cup
But the Lord said to him, “Now you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and of the platter; but inside of you, you are full of robbery and wickedness” (Luke 11:39). What would our cups look like if we just cleaned the outside but left the ring of tea on the inside? Are we guilty of dressing up in our religious garb, yet leaving anger, unforgiveness, immorality, etc., in our hearts?
What’s in your cup today?