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Psalm 23

Empty or Overflowing?

How much we get is up to us…

Isn’t it awesome to go to a restaurant, order an iced tea, and know they’re going to refill our cup over and over, as much as we can drink? One sip or five refills plus a to-go tea—it’s up to us.

In Psalm 23:6, David says, “…my cup overflows.” Not, “my cup has a little in it.” Not, “My cup is full.” No—our cup actually overflows! Luke 6:38 also promises overflowing blessings: “…Abundant gifts will pour out upon you with such an overflowing measure that it will run over the top! Your measurement of generosity becomes the measurement of your return.” Our generosity determines our blessing. Just like iced tea in a restaurant, how much blessing we get is up to us.

The fullness of our cup isn’t limited by God’s generosity, but by our own. How much blessing do we want? How full do we want our cups to be? Here are five levels of filling. Where are we now? And where do we want to be?

  1. The Empty Cup: The Miserable Christian. We all get empty once in a while, but God never intended us to live continuously empty and miserable. A broken cup leaks. Jesus understands brokenness. He was broken so we could be made whole.
  2. The Least-Filled Cup: The Minimalist Christian. The minimalist lives from storm to storm, from struggle to struggle, constantly battling. Jesus didn’t come to give us a minimal life; he came to give us abundant life.
  3. The Half-Empty Cup: The Pessimist Christian. Even when things are going pretty well, this person dwells on the bad, focusing on the negative and ignoring the positive. Flip that attitude by focusing on the good God has done in the past and the amazing work he’s doing right now.
  4. The Full Cup: The Selfish Christian. The selfish Christian has a full cup but focuses only on their own wants and needs. Answer my prayer. Meet my needs. Bless my children. Ask this question: If God answered all my prayers, would the world change? Or would only my world change?
  5. The Overflowing Cup: The World-Changing Christian. As we continue to say “yes” to God, as we continue to be generous and obedient, he continues to pour into our lives until we overflow with his love and grace. As God’s goodness spills out of our lives, it touches those around us, changing the world one heart at a time.

When a server in a restaurant asks us if we want more iced tea, we choose to say “yes” or “no.” Our answer determines how much tea we get. We can’t blame the server for not bringing more tea if we said “no.”

In the same way, God’s great mercy, grace, and love just keep on flowing…as long as we keep on saying “yes” to his leading. Each next step, each obedient action, each act of kindness and generosity keeps our cups full and overflowing, leaving a trail of salt and light that changes the world.

Dear God, thank you for being the Good Shepherd. And thank you for offering to fill me to overflowing with your goodness. Help me be obedient to your instructions. Help me say yes to your leading. Let me be a vessel the overflows with your goodness and changes the lives of those around me. In Jesus’s name, amen.