Vietnamese Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh asks a question that we can all relate to. But each of our answers is no doubt as different as snowflakes. Read and see what your response might be.

You are holding a cup of coffee when someone comes along and bumps into your arm making you spill your coffee everywhere.

Why did you spill coffee? “Well because someone bumped into me, of course!”

Wrong answer. You spilled coffee because there was coffee in your cup.

Had there been tea in the cup, you would have spilled tea.

Whatever is inside the cup, is what will spill out.

Therefore, when life comes along and shakes you (which WILL happen), whatever is inside you will come out. It’s easy to fake it until you get rattled.

So we have to ask ourselves… “What’s in my cup?” When life gets tough, what will spill out? Joy, gratefulness, peace, and humility? Or anger, bitterness, harsh words and spiteful reactions?

You choose! Today let’s work towards filling our cups with gratitude, forgiveness, joy…

Certainly, something to consider. But here’s an item we do not find in this quiz. Where are you going to get the gratitude, forgiveness, joy, etc. to replace the anger, bitterness, harsh words and spiteful reactions? You can’t buy them at the store; it’s not something you can eat or drink; it’s not even something you can train your mind to do. It comes from an outer source that is stronger than your inner source.

The Apostle Paul gives us a brilliant example of this in his letter to the believers living in Galatia. They too were having problems with all the hurtful and damaging things spilling out of their cups. So Paul told them that they must ask God to fill them with His Spirit with all the good things that are available from Him. Paul gives us a starter list that will make a drastic change in our attitude toward others.

He begins with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Wow, that sounds like something anyone would like to have in their cup. But then Paul explains the secret by which these things can become part of our lives. He says, “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.1

In other words, you don’t fill a cup that has previously held something bitter and harmful with something that is clean and wholesome until you first wash out the cup. And only God has what it takes to make that cup clean. So instead of trying to wash it yourself, give it to Him and let Him wash it so it can be pure again. Then He can fill it with the Fruit of the Spirit. – Dr. Robert R Seyda

1 Galatians 5:22-25

About drbob76

Retired missionary, pastor, seminary professor, Board Certified Chaplain and American Cancer Society Hope Lodge Director.
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