Allow me a moment or two of your time please.
I should like to share a story with you from my past and of my friendship with someone who has since been called home.
Sitting in the beautiful morning sun of the Appalachian mountains, and getting ready to enjoy a cup of coffee with my best friend Jim, he asked me if "I would like to have some creamer for my coffee," to which I responded "yes please."
As he dug into a Rubbermaid tote searching for the creamer I thought about the progress we had made in building this cabin of his, and sitting on this rustic looking covered porch enjoying that bright early May morning helped me realize a part of his dream and vision of creating a homestead for himself and his wife on those five acres of his. "Here it is"" he said, "I knew it was there" and he handed me the small, round Tupperware container full of creamer. As I spooned the first and stirred and then a second and stirred the contents of the cup, I began to daydream of what the day's events would bring, we were to just enjoy the weekend and the soak up the progress of former weekends and we had no schedule to run by, just relax and admire all that surrounded us.
Another spoonful and finally the desired cup of coffee had been established, sweet and pleasant to taste, a good way to jumpstart my brain and senses.
Jimmy and I just sat and watched, the birds, the squirrels, the trees, all alive and all magnificent in their own way, God's country.
Then, I could not understand what happened at the time, but something had gotten into my cup and I started to choke and gag, Jimmy looking at me with concern, I waved him off, gasping and finally managing to say "bug or something," Thinking a flying insect had landed in my cup and my drinking of the contents with bug causing my reaction, I stared into the cloudy contents stirring with my spoon once again.
Nothing, except a spoonful of ivory colored slime. "What is this" I wondered aloud? Jimmy saying, "what do you got there?" He looked, and then he went to the tote and removed the Tupperware container with the creamer. He opened it. Wet his finger and tasted a sample declaring "this is potatoes, you just drank instant mashed potatoes with your coffee."
What a laugh that was, and still is to this day. My adventure with coffee in the wilderness.
I'm reminded of how the Pharisees of the Bible were always so worried about their outward appearance, and yet on the inside they were full of hate for those who challenged their traditions and interpretations of the "law."
Jesus told them, "First wash the inside of the cup and the outside will be clean also (Matt. 23:25-26)
Today, while drinking another cup of coffee and at a restaurant (Old Country Buffet) with my mens church group, I remembered that moment and another scripture: But you are only warm—not hot, not cold. So I am ready to spit you out of my mouth. Rev, 3:16 (ERV)
This, I have discovered, is like my life. The cup and the contents. I am like the cup and the contents are those things I experience in life; some I keep, others I "spit out" and even still sometimes I share. Both good and bad I share, and then the contents of my cup, my soul, are either accepted or rejected. No harm intended, just openly shared that perhaps together we can appreciate or dismiss the experience.
We are vessels in the eyes of the LORD, made to carry forth from ourselves what has been poured in from outside of us, both good and bad and we learn from those experiences, love and pain. We share that we may serve each other as the Lord has served us.
This was and is a story about the contents of the cup, and not about the cup itself, God as you remember does bother to look at outward appearances, but only the inside and He is the Creator, not man, Amen.
Romans 9:19-21 (ERV) 19 So one of you will ask me, “If God controls what we do, why does he blame us for our sins?” 20 Don’t ask that. You are only human and have no right to question God. A clay jar does not question the one who made it. It does not say, “Why did you make me like this?” 21 The one who makes the jar can make anything he wants. He uses the same clay to make different things. He might make one thing for special purposes and another for daily use.
1 Samuel 16:7 (KJV) But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. from the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s speech in Washington, DC, on August 28, 1963.
Content; not what's on the outside, but rather what we are like when we interact with others, all others, regardless of our differences. I find it most interesting how King David in Psalm 23 is before his enemies and then the LORD anoints him, the LORD wants all to know he has chosen David and has blessed him, to the point of David's cup running over. God had been watching when no one else could see and God knows our hearts, just as He knew David.
What is overflowing from our cup, bitterness perhaps? It could be that anger and resentment are indeed flowing from us, so many of us have become just numbers, in a world only full of more numbers. Where is our blessing? We lost jobs, we lost homes, we lost our self-esteem even; can we still find or manage to share something sweet from within ourselves? We have become drunk from this bitter cup; we are staggering, where is the sugar to sweeten this bitter drink?