It was James Dobson who made a statement once that has stuck with me for many years. To quote, “It takes a steady hand to hold a full cup.” It is a little nugget of truth that has served me for many years in my personal life and as a leader.
The full cup represents a life full of God’s blessing. It may be a full cup of healthy and positive relationships in family, marriage or dear friends. It may be steady employment that has abundantly met your needs and more. It may be health and strength or a combination of some or all of these things. We love a full cup of life! David the psalmist declared in the fifth verse of Psalm 23, that “My cup runs over!” It is something that we believe God is not only willing to do, but longs to do for us. However, there are dangers with a full cup.
As you hold out your cup for someone to fill with your favorite steaming hot beverage and it is filled to the very brim, think about your behavior at that point. Slow down, take your time as you move, be aware of your surroundings lest you bump your elbow on something spilling the cup and maybe getting burned in the process.
So it is with life. A case in point as we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, I think it is a good opportunity to slow down, be aware and take time to deliberately assess and preserve the contents of your full cup of life. Many times in my years as a leader have I observed those whose cups were once empty become full with the blessings of life and yet the hands were not sufficiently steady to manage the increased volume. Blessings wasted and sometimes the situation worse than before.
We can observe the cyclical history of the Children of Israel in the Old Testament. They begin with an empty cup and as they turned to God it became full only to spill the cup, through reckless and irresponsible thoughts and actions, and find themselves in a desperate place after being in a place of abundance. Once again the attention turns to God, the cup begins to fill but hands fail to manage the full cup and the spill occurs again.
The temptation for all of us is to increase speed as our cup fills. The higher the level the greater the temptation. It is easy to take for granted an abundance will last forever. We spend too much here and there, we assume upon a relationship too often, we over indulge our well being time and again. Instead of decreasing speed, becoming more aware and preserving every drop of blessing we imperil the things we love most, sometimes too late to recover.
Read the entirety of Psalm 23 and notice how David not only rejoices in his full cup, but with the blessing tells us of how it is managed.
Psalm 23:1-6 (NKJV)
A Psalm of David.
The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
 He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
 He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord
“I shall not want” is guided by lying down in green pastures. “He restores my soul” is coupled with being led in the paths of righteousness. “My cup runs over” is balanced by dwelling in the house of the Lord. Blessing needs balance.
I hope your Thanksgiving holiday is a good excuse to slow down, take time steady your hands and preserve your full cup.
Rev. Stephen S. Brown is Pastor at the Kenai New Life Assembly of God.