Tag Archives: Cup

When You’re Hungry for More

Barb and I were visiting our son and his family down in Texas. We decided to search for a church we could attend Sunday morning. We were hoping for something somewhat familiar and with their help we found the address of a church very near their home and checked it out on the internet. We decided to give it a try. One of our granddaughters wanted to go with us, so we agreed to pick her up Sunday morning.

Our first surprise came when we found the church building – much smaller than the website made it appear. But not to judge a book by its cover, we parked across the street in the dirt parking lot and bravely ventured forth into the church. We were quickly greeted by a couple of older women who were truly glad to see us. We soon moved into a pew row and sat down – only to look around and discover that among the maybe 30-40 in attendance our granddaughter appeared to be the only child there. The truth is, we were among the youngest there – we now knew why they were so glad to see us!  That was surprise number two.

Surprise number three – the organist began her prelude and as we sat listening the lady in front of us turned to us and whispered with pride, “Our organist is 102 years old.”  In all fairness, for 102 she did a good job. I would hope I could do that well at 102 – especially since I can’t play the organ at all now! But I digress.

Surprise number four occurred at about the same moment – our granddaughter began shivering because the church was cold (it was an unusually cold Texas day) – and the overhead fans seemed to make it worse. Since Barb’s jacket was heavier than mine she wrapped it around her – now Barb, too, was cold! After that the service moved along slowly but fairly well. Then the minister began to ‘preach.’ Surprise number four! As a preacher I tend to be fairly lenient when it comes to judging sermons – but I must say I’m still looking for his point and wondering what I was supposed to bring home. He rambled to first base then to left field then to third base then to center field then back to the dugout then to second base…well you get the point; he never made it home. By this time I was pretty empty – and hungering for some sense of the divine. Oh, Jesus was mentioned but mostly matter-of-factly.

Then surprise number five. When he finally concluded his message He went to the Table and began to serve communion. There was very little introduction or explanation, but the elements were distributed – and I was hungry no more. The bread and the cup placed Jesus before me. Then it hit me: “When you’re hungry for more, give thanks for the bread and cup.” I had fallen into the trap of wanting worship to feed me – I was accustomed to what I’m used to. I had stopped focusing on Jesus. Rather than be thankful for a place to worship and a small family of people who loved their Lord and were sincerely giving their all to Him in worship, rather than be thankful for the opportunity to sit in worship with my granddaughter, I hungered for something more. And to think I shake my head in wonder at the Israelites for clamoring for more than daily manna! I wonder how they could miss the miracle of the bread. But here I was – missing the miracle of the bread, the miracle of Jesus in our midst. “When you’re hungry for more, give thanks for the bread and cup.”

There’s a reason God fed His people manna (bread) and water in the wilderness – that’s enough to sustain life. There’s a reason Jesus said He was the bread of life and the living water – He is enough to sustain life. “But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.” (John 4:14) “I am the bread that gives life! No one who comes to me will ever be hungry. No one who has faith in me will ever be thirsty.”

As I thought about it, the lesson was not just for worship – it’s for daily life. “When you’re hungry for more, give thanks for the bread and cup.” What have you been hungering for? What are you forgetting to be thankful for? Have you looked to the bread and cup? When it comes down to it, what more do you need? “When you’re hungry for more, give thanks for the bread and cup.”

Dealing With the Overflow

I was pouring from a pitcher into my drinking glass and wasn’t paying attention – and before I knew it the overflow was on the countertop. So I grabbed a ‘quick picker upper’ and wiped it up. I then gave myself the usual brow beating for being so careless.

Yet once again I was struck by the amazing way God works. At that time I had been preparing messages on the blessings of giving and had been making presentations for our church stewardship campaign. My personal focus was on Malachi 3 and 2 Corinthians 9, which both deal with abundance and overflow of blessings. I thought of the two key passages.

Malachi 3:8-12 (New Living Translation)

“Should people cheat God? Yet you have cheated me!
“But you ask, ‘What do you mean? When did we ever cheat you?’
“You have cheated me of the tithes and offerings due to me. 9 You are under a curse, for your whole nation has been cheating me.10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test! 11 Your crops will be abundant, for I will guard them from insects and disease. Your grapes will not fall from the vine before they are ripe,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. 12 “Then all nations will call you blessed, for your land will be such a delight,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.

2 Corinthians 9:6-12
Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.8 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 9 As it is written:“They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor; their righteousness endures forever.”
10 Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness.11 You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.
12 This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God.

My brow beating stopped – I realized that rather than berate myself I should have stopped and offered a prayer of thanksgiving. After all, I had enough supply of drink, more than I needed; I had an excess. I was reminded of the many times God’s rich abundance has overflowed in my life. My lesson for the day was “When you need paper towels, thank God for the overflow.”

With a different analogy another of my facvorite poems, this one by Jimmy Dean, states it poignantly.

I’ve never made a fortune
And I’ll never make one now,
But it really doesn’t matter
Cause I’m happy anyhow.

As I go along my journey
I’m reaping better than I sow.
I’m drinking from the saucer
Cause my cup has overflowed.

I don’t have a lot of riches
And sometimes the going’s tough,
But when I’ve got my kids to love me
I think I’m rich enough.

I’ll just thank God for the blessings
That his mercy has bestowed,
I’m drinking from the saucer
Cause my cup has overflowed.

If you give me strength and courage
When the way grows steep and rough
I’ll not ask for other blessings,
I’m already blessed enough.

May I never be too busy
To help another with his load,
Then I’ll be drinking from the saucer
Cause my cup has overflowed.

From what are you drinking?

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