|When Ron and I first began taking karate
together in December of 1998, our karate instructor shared with us the
parable of the teacups. Each person is like a teacup. Some are already
full. Some are half full. Some are empty. Some are tipped over.
The teacup which is already full cannot
hold any more tea. Likewise, a person who comes to you, filled with the
attitude that he or she knows everything cannot accept any more knowledge.
This person is unwilling to learn anything from you. The teacup which is
half full is able to accept a little tea. Similarly a person who comes,
feeling that he knows a lot, but still has more to learn, is able to accept
some new knowledge. The teacup which is tipped over is analogous to the
person into whom you pour knowledge just to watch it trickle right out
onto the floor. It goes right in one ear and out the other. (Perhaps because
of distractions and cares of this world?)
The teacup which is empty can be completely
filled with tea, much like the person who comes to learn with an open mind
and heart, knowing they have previously only touched the tip of the iceberg
in their experiences and education.
I think about my son Jonathon who is a
physical reminder of human nature in all its immaturity. He doesnít want
Christopher, his brother, playing with his toys-even if Jonathon wasnít
playing with them or wasnít interested in playing with them!
He is also set on directing things. If
he decides he wants Mommy to push his chair up to the table, heíll throw
a huge fit if Daddy does it. Heíll ask me if he can help. Then when I tell
him how he can help, heíll say, ďMommy do it.Ē Or heíll decide he wants
to do something by himself and then he gets really bent out of shape when
he canít quite accomplish it. And itís even worse if I try to help. Oh,
the joys of raising a two year old!
As I smile about the above situations,
I find myself wondering: Does God ever look at me and say, ďOh, the joys
of raising a two year old?Ē Where am I in my spiritual maturity? Am I still
a two year old? A difficult teen? Or am I on the brink of becoming a more
responsible and mature Christian?
Do I get upset if someone is using ďmy
thingsĒ, even if I wasnít interested in them? Do I want to have things
go my way? How many times have I decided that it would be really nice if
ďsomeoneĒ would do a particular thing only to be irritated when someone
else does it? Do I hold grudges against people? Anyone in particular? Why?
Even if I feel Iím doing fairly good in
these areas, I quickly admit that I am struggling with trying to accomplish
things on my own. I get stressed out and distracted by the things Iím trying
to do. When will I learn that I need to do everything within the will of
God and that, once in the will of God, everything will work out as it is
supposed to? When will I learn that Godís peace is mine when Iíve given
everything over to Him?! If I have Godís peace and have the faith to know
that God has my best interest at heart, then it wonít matter if things
turn out differently from what I wanted. I can be content in Godís will
for my life.
Once Iím in the will of God, guided by
Him, then I am like the empty teacup. God is able to fill me with His love
and use me for his purposes. Thatís where we all should long to be! Not
as a robot or unthinking tool, but a living tool, in the hand of the Father!
By Cynthia Saladin