Is Your Cup Empty-or Full?
Grace Andrews of Independence, MO, USA
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
my whole life long.-Psalm 23:5-6
The person sitting in the pew next to me turned to me and said, “Look at all the empty seats.” Glancing around the church, I quietly responded, “Look at all the full ones.”
I was actually feeling rather down that day. A cancerous tumor required a complete thyroidectomy and radiation. Within a month I had shoulder surgery. The cancer was eradicated, but my voice was reduced to little more than a whisper. It was difficult for others to understand me.
I enjoyed serving as a hospital chaplain for many years. I loved writing and directing dramatizations for church. I always tried to be faithful to the words in my evangelist blessing admonishing me to “be valiant in testimony.” I relished the research required when I was privileged to occupy the pulpit. I was part of the pastorate, a presider, a choir member, kitchen helper, and organizer of activities. Now as I sat silent in my seat, head down, I felt completely useless. I thought, “Without a voice, what can I do now?”
The earlier conversation suddenly came back to me: “Look at all the empty seats” followed by “Look at all the full ones.” I realized it applied to me as well. True, I temporarily lost most of my voice, but God continues to bless me beyond measure. I am now cancer free. My shoulder is healing. I can write, crochet items for people, contribute financially, and bake cookies for others. I can read and study, continue creating a loving atmosphere at home and church, and smile and squeeze hands to encourage others who have much more reason to feel down than I do.
I have a loving husband, a family, and a multitude of friends. I am reminded of an old hymn which began, “Never be discouraged, trust the Father’s word…Never be discouraged, patiently endure” (J. H. Fillmore, Zion’s Praises 96).
I know my God loves me and that’s all that really matters. God will supply my need. My cup is far from empty. I am so full of life, “my cup runneth over.”
“Attention is the beginning of devotion” (Mary Oliver).
Spend a few moments paying attention, wherever you are. Notice your surroundings. What draws your focus? Look more closely at detail and color. Notice what pulls or prods within you. How is the God-in-all-things speaking to you through what you see and feel right here, right now?
Today’s Prayer for Peace
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