A Full Cup

I like a nice, hot cup of tea, so much that I dream of a cup that never empties and never cools. Hey, if it worked for the widow in 1 Kings 17, why not for me? Just kidding. But there is something comforting about a full cup. Empty cups make me sad.

I learned a new song at a women’s retreat in Newfoundland, Canada, called Fill My Cup, Lord. The retreat was several years ago but the lyrics and melody have stuck with me. It’s a prayer for the Lord to quench the thirsting of my soul, to fill my cup and make me whole.

In ministry, we often say we can only be effective if we’re working from a full tank. I think this is especially true of introverts, but none of us can pull up water from an empty well. A relationship with God that is alive and growing is the best way to keep ourselves ready for participating in what God is doing.

Sometimes my cup gets a little empty. When I get low on spiritual energy, and if I’m low on physical or emotional energy at the same time, it can be difficult to bring the level back up to full. I’m not alone in this. As I’m sure you can attest, those in ministry often have to take a little time to recharge after the weekly church service or any ministry opportunity. I’m always in need of down time after speaking at conferences.

So how do we fill up the cup? Besides vegging out a little, the best thing is to spend some quiet time with God: a little scripture reading, meditation, solitude and especially prayer. It’s easy to let life crowd out these disciplines, but we all know they are essential to enjoying and nurturing our relationships with God.

Nurture and enjoy – that’s how I’ve started thinking of staying close to God. I used to stress about my relationship with him. I wondered if I even knew what one was supposed to look like. I worried I didn’t know how to have a relationship with someone who’s invisible. During a silent retreat last spring, I stumbled upon a timeless truth, one practiced from the beginning of the early church and one the significance of which I had not fully realized. That truth: prayer is a gift of God to help us discover, uncover and recover the relationship Jesus has always had with the Father, and which he now shares with us.

I felt as if the proverbial light bulb had switched on over my head. I realized I had been looking for something more dramatic, more romantic and certainly more exciting than prayer as the way to be in relationship with God. Of course I already knew this, and so did you. But don’t we all sometimes take prayer for granted? And it’s easy to let it become the time we bring our list of needs to him, rather than a time of nurturing the relationship and enjoying his presence.

Filling our cups isn’t only about being ready for ministry. It’s about letting God fill our souls with himself and his never ending supply of Living Water.

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