Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Empty Cup

It's funny sometimes where one can find spiritual inspiration. God can speak in many unexpected and surprising ways. This time for me, it came in the form of a scene from a movie. Surprising in itself is the movie that God chose to place this message. It was the movie 2012, you know, that heartwarming tale of total global destruction.

There is a scene in the movie that involves a Tibetan monk trying to teach an apprentice of his about wisdom. The apprentice is complaining that he just can't get his mind around what true wisdom is. As it happens, the both of them are drinking tea and each has a cup on the table. The apprentice's cup is already half full, but without saying a word, the teacher picks up the teapot and begins to top off the apprentice's cup. However, he does not stop when the cup is full. Rather, he continues to pour until the cup overflows and spills all over the table. Finally, as the apprentice looks on curiously, the monk stops pouring the tea. The monk looks at the apprentice and says ( I don't remember the exact words ) " In order to obtain true wisdom, one must empty the cup before adding more."

I have to honest, that phrase hit me pretty hard. I have been struggling as of late with my relationship with God. I have had very little desire to pray, read scripture, and especially go to church. The main reason for this is that I'm so disappointed in what passes for Christianity these days, that I just don't want to be a part of it. To me Christianity has become jaded, judgmental, self-centered, and the churches have become little more than competitive businesses. Believe me, I was involved in church leadership for over 20 years and I saw all the politics and competiveness, and cultural influences first hand. Maybe even a bigger problem is that the vast majority of church goers don't think it is happening in their church. Believe me people, it is.

So what do I do about this disappointment and anger I have towards modern day Christianity? I am going to ask God to help me empty the cup. Somehow, I have to get past this point and move on to the important things, such as my own personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I need to empty the cup of all the foul tasting, old hurts that have gone cold and just sit in the bottom of my "spiritual cup" and contaminate anything else I try to put in there. It won't be easy, because if I'm being honest, I have sometimes enjoyed my anger, and used it as a reason to separate myself from anything that smacked of organized religion. It's time that all that anger ends.

So here's the plan, I am mentally, emotionally, and spiritually emptying the cup. I am going to begin refilling it with good things like renewed prayer and quiet, reflective scripture reading. I'm not going to allow my cup to be filled with the trappings of modern day Christianity. I will keep up a relationship with my church and the wonderful brothers and sisters I have there. But the church will no longer be the foundation of my faith. I should never have allowed that to happen in the first place. I will be putting all my faith into a deep, some might even say vintage relationship with Christ.

God, please help me to depend on you for my salvation and for my ability and desire to live the life you want me to. Please empty my cup and help me to move past the pain of what has happened. Please fill my cup with love, wisdom and passion for a deeper relationship with you. I need to find peace again, and I know that true peace can only be found in you. Amen

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