“You are holding a cup of coffee when someone comes along and bumps into you or shakes your arm, making you spill your coffee everywhere. Why did you spill the coffee? “Because someone bumped into me!!!” Wrong answer. You spilled the coffee because there was coffee in your cup. Had there been tea in the cup, you would have spilled tea. Whatever is inside the cup is what will spill out.” The same can be said for our spiritual life. If you get rattled in life, whatever is inside of you will come out. I invite you to read more.
My daughter Betsy keeps our ministry website up to date and adds the pictures to each week’s 4th Day Letter. She recently came across this story about spilling coffee. She thought it would be a good story to build upon for a 4th Day letter. She was right. l was unable to determine who the original author was, but the story teaches us a great lesson. So here I am, writing about spilling coffee.
The story continued as follows. “Therefore, when life comes along and shakes you, which will happen, whatever is inside you will come out. It’s easy to fake it, until you get rattled. So, we have to ask ourselves… “what’s in my cup?” When life gets tough, what spills over? Joy, gratefulness, peace and humility or anger, bitterness, harsh words and reactions? Life provides the cup; you choose how to fill it. Today let’s work towards filling our cups with gratitude, forgiveness, joy, words of affirmation; and kindness, gentleness and love for others.”
Mark 7:15-23 tells us that “Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person; but the things that come out from within are what defile.” It goes on to say, “From within people, from their hearts, come evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly. All these evils come from within and they defile.”
Are these the things our cup is filled with? Are these the types of things that will spill out from us when we are tested by life? If we desire to please God and to act with kindness towards others, we need to rid ourselves of these evils. How do we do that?
John 15:4 says this, “Remain in me, as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me.” In other words, we must empty ourselves in order to make room for Jesus so that we can bear good fruit. Paul says it this way in Galatians 2:19-20, “I have been crucified with Christ; yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me; insofar as I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who has loved me and given himself up for me.”
Therefore, we must die to ourselves and allow Jesus to live is us. When we do, His Holy Spirit will also reside in us. Galatians 5:22-23 tells us, “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” I think we can all agree these are the things we want spilling out of our cup.
As we begin this new year, we need to make sure our cup is filled with the fruits of the Holy Spirit. We need to plan more time reading Scripture, set more time aside for prayer, schedule at least one Christian retreat during the upcoming year, set aside a time and place for silence to hear the voice of God, reexamine our alms giving to make sure we are giving what is expected, and make plans this year for periods of fasting. The ancient spiritual exercise of fasting teaches us the discipline we need to empty ourselves of those things that need to be purged from our cup.
There was a song in the sixties, sung by Ed Ames, called My Cup Runneth Over With Love. If we want to make sure that love is spilling out from our cup during 2020, we need to pull out our calendars and add those items listed above to our yearly plan. We will all have a better chance of accomplishing our plans when they are written down.
I’ll close with this question. If life jostles you around today, if misfortune comes your way and if someone bumps into your arm, what will spill out of your cup?
Heavenly Father, your unfailing love fills the earth; fill my heart and fill my soul with the love of your Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen!
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