A Cup Full of Jesus
by John Partridge
In my New Testament Culture class discussion this week, we noted that today’s church, and its people, often bears a striking resemblance to the ancient Jerusalem temple and its Jewish congregants. Like us, they had priests and Levites who were the professionals that led worship, nearby were the faithful “serious lay scholars” that were the Pharisees. These folks were lay people, but nearly all of their free time was dedicated to the church and to the study of scripture. Neither of these groups were large and, together, only represented a small percentage of Jerusalem’s population. The people in the temple courts were, like today, divided among the regular attenders, the occasional visitors, and those, both local and from far away, that only showed up for the big holy days and festivals.
Two thousand years of history hasn’t changed human behavior much. Then, like now, many of the people in the temple and in the church, were folks who were just trying to get by, survive, and get through life. But all of that reminded me of a Sunday school lesson that my friend Brian Baer used in our class something like thirty years ago. In that lesson, much like I mentioned during our Sunday morning prayer time recently, Brian reminded us that we worship a God of miracles. Our God is the god who spoke the universe into existence, set the stars in place, created the earth and all that is in it, and knit us together each with our own skills, talents, and abilities. We follow Jesus who raised Lazarus from the dead, healed incurable diseases, rose from the dead, and changed the course of human history forever.
And yet, how many of us come to church expecting little or nothing? How many of us are so focused on getting by, or so focused on stability, repeatability, and maintaining the status quo of our lives, that we ask nothing more from God than absolutely necessary. We come to the foot of a raging waterfall of miraculous power and blessing that dwarfs Niagara Falls, and in our hand is nothing more than a teacup.
I’d like a cup full of Jesus, please.
The only thing we ask is enough of Jesus to get by, to get us through the next week, and for only enough of Jesus to survive.
Why is that? What are we afraid of?
Are we worried that too much of Jesus would overwhelm us? That asking, and expecting, more from Jesus would be transformative and force us to change? Are we worried that if God’s Spirit and blessing really poured out upon us that we would have to deal with changes in our church, our families, or our personal lives? Are we worried that God might change how we think about the people around us and how we act around them? Or are we worried that God might ask something of us in return? Would God pour out his blessing on us and ask us to go on a mission trip, or teach, volunteer, go into ministry, or do something, anything, outside of our comfort zone?
God is waiting to pour out a Niagara Falls of his Spirit and blessing into your lives.
Don’t be afraid to ask for big things. Don’t be afraid of what a loving God might want to give you, how he might want to transform you, or how he may intend to change us both personally, and as a church.
At the very least, let us come to Jesus with expectation and hope and not, teacup in hand, asking only for another cup of Jesus.
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