I treasure my first thirty minutes of the day. I’m the only one awake in the house, the coffee pre programmed to be hot and ready when I wake. I fill a favorite mug, one that fits just right in my hand, and I curl up on “my” spot on the couch. A good devotional and a strong cup of coffee seems to set me for the day ahead.
Today’s phrase from David’s psalm is quite popular and often sited.
My cup overflows. Psalm 23:5
It is typically repeated in times of joy. A new mother whispers it in the ear of her newborn. It’s etched on a man’s heart as the love of his life walks down the aisle toward him. It echos around the table of a long awaited family reunion. “My cup overflows” is a declaration of overwhelming good fortune. Not only is my cup full, it is overflowing. My joy cannot be contained!
But, what is the point of a cup that overflows? Doesn’t it just make a mess? I mean, why didn’t David just say his cup is full?
I’m reminded of one of the signs and miracles of Jesus. He was teaching in front of a large crowd. He must have given quite a long message because He was soon concerned about their hunger. So, Jesus instructs His disciples to feed the crowd, which numbered more than five thousand men plus women and children. Discovering a boy who offered a donation of five loaves of bread and two fish, Jesus was able to satisfy the hunger of the entire crowd! That is a “full cup”. However, the story doesn’t end there. The disciples gathered twelve baskets of leftover food. Now, that is an “overflowing cup”!
But, why? What was the point of the immense amount of leftovers when everyone in the crowd had eaten until full? A friend told me that her family arrives to her Thanksgiving meal with Tupperware containers in anticipation of taking home some leftovers. However, Tupperware didn’t exist in the time of Jesus. There was no refrigeration system. We are not told what the disciples did with the twelve baskets of leftovers, but I like to think they gave them away. Perhaps Jesus was wanting to display His love to the crowd, revealing to them His sufficiency in meeting their needs. And, that His gifts were so great that there are plenty to be shared with others.
I see a connection between David’s phrase and the story of this miracle. Both speak to the generosity of God. He will meet our needs. His provision is sufficient. In fact, He is so generous, that He gives us more than we need. He gives beyond our hopes; He gives an abundance! Not so that we will become hoarders, but so that we can follow His example. He is a giver so that we may become givers. He meets needs so that we may meet needs.
The beautiful thread that runs the length of this psalm is sufficiency. Our God is a provider. He gifts us with a life without lack. So the question is, does our trust for Him allow us to be generous with what He’s given?
This can be a tough question to ponder in normal times. It’s a down right kick-your-tail question in the midst of a global pandemic. We are living in times with no rulebook. We are living in history. In a time marked by scarcity, we may be tempted to look into our cup and see it as empty. The fear of the unknown encourages us to look out for ourselves. Absolutely, we must be wise in our decisions, but how do we prevent panic from making us completely self centered? Generosity is the antidote to doubt and fear. Even in the midst of uncertainty, how can we live a life marked by generosity? How can we still be giving with our time, attention, and resources?
- Listen more than we speak. Call someone and ask how they are doing, and listen without diving into your own list of concerns.
- Turn off shows that only serve to numb us, and spend quality time with someone we are quarantined with.
- Share some supplies we’ve stoked. (Drop rolls of toilet paper off for a neighbor!) 😉
- Concerned for your favorite hair dresser or nail tech? If you have the means, Venmo her/him pre payment for future visits.
- Make a list of family, fiends, coworkers, acquaintances. Choose five a day to call and check in on.
Today, we honor Good Friday. We set our focus on the sacrifice of Jesus, on the burdens He carried with Him to the cross. All of our mistakes, pain, fears, doubts, and sorrows are on the cross with Him. There is no one more selfless, no one more giving. And, remember…we are anointed. We are commissioned to love as generously as Jesus loved. Our cups overflow. We can either “drink from the saucer”, or love others with our abundance.
If we claim that our once full cup is now empty, perhaps we need to redefine what an “overflowing cup” looks like.
What would you describe as overflowing from your cup right now? (Time, peace, finances, etc.?) How can you use it to love another?
Jesus, thank You for meeting our needs to the point our cups overflow. Reveal to us how we can best use the abundance to share Your love with another. Help us to remember this, even when we think our cup is emptying. Build our trust in You daily. In Your Name, Amen.