Empty Your Cup 


Empty tea cup.


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