Monday, August 17, 2015

Full, Half-full or Empty?

That cup we’re always hearing about that’s either half-full or half-empty; what’s it’s filled with anyways?

In the Old Testament (Jeremiah 18) we read the story of the potter and his clay. Whenever I ponder that story, I envision a potter’s hands on a wet mound of clay gently pressing inward as his wheel turns. Behind him, I see other vessels he’s made, awaiting the kiln – where they’ll be tried by fire. I see tall, thin vessels – perhaps beautiful vases; I see shorter, fat bowls – perhaps casserole dishes; I even see one that looks like it could be a bedpan.

In the vast array of his work, I see the plans for his pottery unfold in his mind as he creates each one. When he shapes one like a bedpan, he probably doesn’t get excited about the flowers that wait to fill it. Yet, when he shapes the tall slender vases, he probably doesn’t smile at the aroma of a baking casserole that might enter his senses as he molds the clay for the baking dish. His mind will cause his fingers to shape the clay in just the right way to embrace the untold beauty of the bouquets that will all but cause the vase to vanish from sight completely.

As I ponder the potter’s trophies, I trust that the Master Potter had a perfect plan for me when He created this vessel. What did He originally plan to pour into me? If I’m having a rough day, no doubt my mind wanders to the bedpan and laughs, “that’s you – right there!” Yeah. I’m still working on that. But, praise God – I’m making progress by leaps and bounds.

Fortunately, His Word tells me exactly what He planned to fill me with, and He pours into me with great abundance. In 2 Corinthians 4:6-7 we read: “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” (KJV)
His original intent was, and still is, to fill us with His Spirit, the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, which He revealed to us through Jesus Christ. The glory is in that incredible power, not in the construction of the vessel it fills.

I may notice a lovely vase, but once it’s filled with the beauty of a bouquet, the vase almost seems to fade away, by comparison. It’s kind of like the word “is” in the middle of a sentence; who notices it when we’re busy taking in the meaning of the word combinations?

I recently heard Dr. Matthew Thomas speak on joy. He just wears it all over his face, there’s no mistaking it there. He used the illustration of pouring water from a large pitcher into a smaller glass. Once he filled it to the rim, he asked if there was room in the glass for anything else. He surmised that, if we are filled with the joy of the Lord, there could be no room for worry or anxiety, doubt or fear, complaining or offenses. His point lodged in my mind.

Psalm 139:14 beautifully points out that I am (we are all) fearfully and wonderfully made. But, an empty vessel just collects dust. Our Potter created us with specific purpose and phenomenal plans in mind.

It’s time for a fresh refilling of His Spirit, a topping off. Remind yourself Who you belong to, Who keeps you and loves you always and forever. No - matter - what! There’s no reason to be half-full or half-empty when He’s willing and wanting to fill us to overflowing!

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