No, this is not a story about the whole ‘glass half full’, or ‘glass half empty’ debate. In fact, the late George Carlin once observed, “Maybe the glass is just twice as big as it needs to be!“… he then proceeded on a tirade of how we overthink, over-analyze, and certainly over-debate about such nonsensical conditions in our lives.
Rather, there is this scripture that got my attention some time back and I wanted to help you see what I saw… no, we’re not headed to the playground! See-Saw… right!?!! Anyway… Settle in, settle your heart, and let the Lord minister to you, as He did with me.
See, it says in Psalms 23:5 KJV: Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Now, there were three things that caught my attention here;
- God’s blessing on you
- Your cup will run over
- In Public, too
Is it me, or does God not see just how big ‘the cup’ actually is? Why does He keep on pouring? I mean, isn’t enough, enough? Now as a problem solver, I quickly figured I was either going to need a bigger cup, or there is just too much fluid being poured.
But, this whole image intrigues me… this whole picture of God demonstrating His blessing on us… making a ‘show’ of just how proud of us He is… making a ‘fuss’ as it were, over us and how He is being very, very sure even our enemies witness that this is happening! Now, where is that scripture that states we need to do all our spiritual stuff in secret, and be humble, and private, and quiet? I mean, the last thing I ‘ever’ want to do is anything in public where my enemies can watch, can scowl, can mock and jeer…. I really, REALLY dislike my enemies. That level of vulnerability is reserved ONLY for…. uh… oh… wait… God! Yea, I can be vulnerable in public for God!
But, there’s God…. not only making a fuss over you, but notice the very beginning of this scripture. It is actually the very point of it all… He is preparing a table for you RIGHT in the presence of your enemies. He is not secretly building a sanctuary of comfort where you can recover when your enemies strike out at you… a hedged yard wherein you can seek refuge from their taunts, for their jesting, their insensitive and twisted hatred.
No… God’s making up this table right where ALL can observe. THAT is important for us to see… so important for us to grasp… and just SO important for us to embrace with our whole heart (you’re going to need a bigger cup, huh)! Sure, you are timid… sure, you are a private person… sure, you are even ‘barely faithful’ enough to even be counted among His children. But, THAT is the actual beauty of this scene… this presentation the Lord is preparing. See, the Bible says, “Not by might shall He be glorified” (I may have paraphrased that, huh). God is strongest when we are weakest.
This passage actually begins with the ‘preparation’ part. It does NOT begin with the “since you were so faithful, loyal, and godly, I am going to throw a banquet in your honor”. God is preparing a table for you… wait for it… because He already KNOWS you are going to succeed…. to win… to be a glowing witness of His great mercy! See that?? Please tell me you see that?
I mean… since God ‘can’ see the future, and He is preparing a banquet… DUH! You must have WON! You must have overcome… bless your weary, worn-out heart… you must have survived the storm, the challenge, the ‘beat down’ you feel like you are getting right now. See?? God has faith in you… God trusts you will be trustworthy… He’s already “killed the fatted calf”, as it were…. He is already preparing a celebration!! All alone, THAT should bolster your hope… THAT should distinguish any question of His acceptance… THAT should certainly quell any doubt, uncertainty, and lack-o-faith that haunts your soul!
Now… let’s get back to the container… to that big problem we ‘are going to have’ with retaining all His blessing! All too often in our modern society (and probably since the dawn of time, right), we are SO careful not to spill… not to ‘waste’. Yet, here comes God claiming “I am going to bless you so much more than you can contain”!
Curious that He doesn’t give us ‘just enough’ to fill our cup. He’s prepared to ‘fill to overflowing’… like He begins pour His blessing on us, gets distracted dealing with something else (isn’t watching that our cup is too full, now), and just keeps pouring! I literally envision being waited on at breakfast, and the waiter/waitress just keeps pouring and pouring! In this ‘practical’ scenario, we jolt over the ‘spill’, and exclaim loudly!
But, have we ever been ‘so overfilled’ with God’s mercy, God’s gifts, God’s very blessing that we holler, “HEY” to Him? Uhhhh…. NO! One of two reasons; 1) we aren’t in a place to even let Him bless us like that, and 2) we’ve been too afraid of our enemies, our public exposure to even consider letting God bless us. So, the scenario has never occurred for us/you!
I am here to let you know, “shame on you, dear child of God”. These are His blessings waiting to be poured out, and you are not putting your container over there for Him to fill your cup! OK…. sorry.. maybe you ‘are’ blessed… maybe you ‘are’ fulfilled’… maybe you are satisfied with His blessings on you, now.
OK…. I get that… trust me. But, “His blessing” on you is NOT really about you at all! See… the “my cup runneth over” part is VERY important for us to recognize. God’s love is NOT to be retained… it is NOT to be held… and certainly dear friend… it is NOT to be squelched for yourself, alone. Do a quick study on the Salk Lake in Utah, or even the very Dead Sea, itself. That Dead Sea is RIGHT in the most religious region in the world today, the great Jordan river even flows into it… yet, there is NO outlet for all that water. It gets into that huge ‘reservoir’
and goes nowhere else… just fills that area, and stays there… doesn’t benefit anyone else beyond.
Me?? A heartbreaking reminder that we are to ‘pass it on’… we are to ‘do unto others’… we are to ‘give an it shall be given’. OK… now for the ‘how’ part… whew…. the guilt was thick there for a bit, right!
Well, that is up to you! HA! Gotcha!
Seriously though, ‘how’ you use God’s blessings on you varies for each of us. But, I have found that these three ‘components’ have helped me get lined up for God’s blessing;
- Grasp His promise
- Open your heart/life for filling
- No shame while your enemies watch
OK… I am not going to leave you with a bullet-point list like that without passing along scripture and encouragement to help you apply these to your life (and it will ‘run over’ to those around you – I just couldn’t help the cyclical reference, here!).
Grasp His Promise
Now listen… and you may need to actually “lean forward” to grasp how passionately I am sharing this… how caringly I am expressing this… and how very cautiously I am hoping you let His Spirit speak to your very soul on this matter… He is “preparing a table before me in the presence of mine enemies“.
WAY too often, we are ashamed or our lives. Like a Jet-Ski ROCKETING through the harbor, we leave a huge and unwelcome ‘wake of disaster’ wherever we go (it seems)… in the midst of living our lives and wholly enjoying ourselves. Looking back over your life, the ‘shame’ you may have for pieces of it… the embarrassment you may have for choices and results… the regrets… the harm, and who knows… the damage you unwittingly, or even wittingly caused.
Look over there… God is “preparing a table” in honor of YOU! He already knows you are going to WIN, because He is in you… and He never has failed… “not even in death”! See that? NOT EVEN IN DEATH. Better still, He is preparing that ‘table of feast’ right in the presence of your enemies. Not over in some secluded area, not hidden from taunting eyes, not even ashamed of you!
So, ‘get a grip’ on yourself, grasp that He has the confidence in you, so ‘buck up’ and switch yourself from the “pity party” to His “Holy Party”!
OK… now the ‘what do I need to do’ part. I mean… so far, we have covered the part Jesus is doing… preparing a table, and making a promise He’s going to hold a banquet in your honor. You? Now you need to get your cup ready… you need to get yourself in a place where you can receive His blessing… His out-pouring… His very grace.
Have you ever heard that phrase, “I was in the wrong place at the wrong time”? A very, VERY dumb statement, really. I mean… think along the lines of a set of train tracks and a train schedule. Then, park your car on the train tracks ‘between’ the times when a train ‘does’ go by. No damage! You’re in the right place, but it is the wrong time!
Nonetheless, this narrow track is a great example of how the Lord wants us to prepare our hearts, our lives, our every being…
13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
YouVersion Bible Matthew 7:13-14
See… you merely need to ‘get on track’ with receiving His blessing… not following the crowd… not worried about the peer pressure, the whispers, even the taunting… just willing to prepare your life for His outpouring (the right place and in His time). I know… kinda vague, open ended, and probably too ‘when will this happen’ for many of us. Again though, there is no formal formula, no ‘steps to reproduce’, nor any schematic or ‘trail’ others have used that you can follow.
See, over in Mark 13:33, Jesus said; “Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is.” The ‘take heed’ part means, heads-up…. hey… HONK (if it was a car). It’s that ‘watch and pray’ part that many, many of us just fall apart over. Unfortunately, our instant-gratification lives have tricked us into almost insisting quicker results. Being receptive does not ONLY mean holding out your hands, being in the line to receive… to obtain.
Jesus used wine and wine skins to help us understand how we can be receptive. We are old sinners… we are faulty… we are tattered, tired and dry. Putting His new wine into our lives can cause us to burst! Can result in destroying us, really… He must refresh our lives. Here are a couple of ways you can prepare yourself… learn to be receptive… get your heart in a place where His outpouring will bless you His way;
- Proverbs 3:6 – In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
- Psalms 91:15 – He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.
- Matthew 21:22 – And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.
Lastly… let’s go back to the introductory scripture and remember that He is not only preparing a banquet table for you… He is actually doing this RIGHT where your enemies can see what is transpiring. If ever there was a ‘vulnerable moment’ in your life, this is it. See?? There is No Shame in the Lord preparing to bless your life… preparing a banquet of honor… making a feast of celebration, right in the midst of your enemies. Right there ‘where you are’ now, in that battle… in that struggle… in your turmoil.
The Lord doesn’t take you aside once the storm has settled… He doesn’t secretly pull you into a quiet corner and coddle you… He doesn’t need to reward you in secret! I mean, think about it… if your enemies don’t know this ‘blessing’ is coming upon you (it was done in secret), the next time they saw you, they WOULD be curious, but… since they are enemies, you are NOT getting the benefit of ANY doubt. Nope… they are going straight to being envious, jealous, and will quickly excuse your new-found ‘wealth’ to anything but the Lord! Their ‘go to’ thoughts will be that you stole it… that you inherited it… that you may have just rented or leased it, even!
Remember, Psalms 74:21 says, “O let not the oppressed return ashamed: let the poor and needy praise thy name.” And then, over in Psalms 25:2 it says, “O my God, I trust in thee: let me not be ashamed, let not mine enemies triumph over me.” See?? Shame is a tough part of our lives… it quietly causes us to hide… it causes us to cower… to have this overwhelming feeling of inadequacy… a very powerful force, shame is.
But, dear friend… go back and read that whole introductory verse… God tells us that He is going to prepare this banquet right before those enemies! All by itself, that means God will not only bless you, but His blessing on you IS going to be a witness to them, too! See!! You live your life ‘unashamed’ of God, of God’s ways, of God’s will in your life… He’ll not be ashamed of you, either!
Now, I am the first to recognize it is tough to just ‘be brave’ and work through the embarrassment, the shame, or even the awkwardness of living your life ‘out loud’, or at least ‘out’ (not hiding, or being politically correct). Let me remind you of this nugget from Romans 5:5, “And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”
There is your key… the Holy Spirit quietly assuring you that ‘all is well’, regardless of how things look! Now… just prepare your life… do not be ashamed of it… and His blessings… His joy… His love will spill over! Those around you WILL take notice… they will ‘not’ misunderstand how/why/where these blessings are coming from! And, even if they are ‘too blind’ to get it, the bible does say, “Always be ready to give account of the hope that is within you”, and that will help them too to receive His love, His blessing, and His Spirit!
Jesus promised us…
Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.
YouVersion Bible Luke 6:38
See?? You’re Gonna Need a Bigger Cup, trust me!