Updated: May 25, 2019
Although my mind tells me tea tastes the same whether I use a heavy mug or a dainty teacup, my heart remains unconvinced. Holding that delicate cup full of tea in my hands causes me to pause, savor, breathe deeply and reflect. This is a time to slow down and allow a “stop and smell the roses” kind of moment. Through the years my teacup time has taught me much.
My teacup started as a lump of clay. If I had seen it in that beginning form, I would not have given it another thought. Yet, the potential in the lump of clay was there to become that cup. Isn’t that like us? In Isaiah 64:8 we read, “But now, O Lord, You are our Father. We are the clay, and You our Potter; and all we are the work of Your hand.” Just as we are clay that our Heavenly Father molds into His vessel, we must trust that He knows what He is doing. We can be assured that He has our best interest at heart as He fashions us for His purposes. Can there be any doubt to His intent as we read Psalm 139:13-16, “For you formed my inward parts, You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made, marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed, and in Your book they were all written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.”
With that much care given to our development, we need to accept how God made us. We are not the potter – He is. Although we are frail, God created us in His image to be the ambassadors of His message to the earth, “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us (II Corinthians 4:7).” The treasure referred to is the gospel message. What an honor to have that gift given to us!
But accepting our “cup” is just the beginning. We also need to be purposeful about what we put in our cup. Do we become a vessel of honor or dishonor? In II Timothy 2:20-21 we read, “But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel of honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work.” So what do we put in our cup to become vessels of honor?
Putting good things into our cup includes: studying God’s Word, prayer, worship, fellowship with others, family, healthy food and exercise, education and other good things. Of equal importance is avoiding things we shouldn’t be putting in our cup. Spend time reflecting on your time commitments. Are you spending too much time on things that don’t matter in light of eternity? Are you choosing the easy things instead of the best things? Are you doing just enough to get by or choosing to do things with excellence and cheerfulness? This is a time for honest reflection. If you find areas where God is prompting you to change, make those changes. Your life will be richer and your cup will be filled with the honorable things.
Because as we all know, there comes a day when life gets hard, our teacup gets bumped, and things spill over. What is on the inside comes spilling out. We all hope that what jumps out will be glorifying to God, but in the midst of challenging circumstances, that is not how it always seems. Yet, if we continually fill our cup with quality “tea”, when things “heat up” and our brew overflows, we hope that the steeped beverage is pleasant to those who experience it. Matthew 12:34b-35 states it well, “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.” Another reminder is found in Galatians 6:7-9, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.”
Grab your teacup and spend time today reflecting on what you want as the overflow of your life. Then determine to start filling your beautiful cup, designed by God, with the things that will produce that desired overflow. My hope is that you will see things like courage, loyalty, diligence, modesty, humility, honesty, meekness, reverence and gratitude reflected there.