Saturday, December 6, 2008

Parable of the Quarter Cup

When Master Potter fashioned me from the crude clay, He decided to make me a vessel, a cup. At His discretion, He formed my cup with a large capacity.

"I will fill it," He promised.

In my youth, great thirst began to consume me. It seemed that unlimited years stretched before me. Every fountain of life sparkled and beckoned to me offering a fullness to which I might hold my cup and let its water bubble in to fill me.

"Just wait for My time," Master Potter cautioned. "I promise to choose the right fountain for you."

In due season (but none too soon, I complained) Master Potter led me to a certain fountain of His choice.

I stretched forth my empty cup with trembling anticipation. At last! Eagerness for the promised fulfillment nearly overwhelmed me.

There was nothing wrong with that fountain. Its waters were adequate, I suppose. But I was left unfulfilled, puzzled—and sad.

Time went by--a lot of time.

I realized with painful, excruciating dismay, that this fountain might always fill my cup barely one-quarter full! I grew increasingly restless. What a disappointment! Was this Master Potter's best for me?

Or had my cup grown in capacity with maturity?

Perhaps my thirst was greater?

Was this all that my fountain was capable of giving me?

My cup could easily hold three-quarters more!

I wanted my cup to be not merely full, but overflowing! Was that an unreasonable expectation? After all, it was Master Potter who gave me such great capacity. I became increasingly perplexed and discontented.

I questioned Master Potter's judgment and decided, "I shall take my cup back to Him. I shall demand a reason for His meager provision. I shall ask to change fountains!

On the way There, I unexpectedly came upon another fountain. Oh, how large and splendid and abundant it was! Surely Master Potter made this one too—it was clearly labeled as His possession. How sparkling was the water that bubbled to overflowing! I couldn't help myself; I was drawn to it with anticipation. I knew instinctively that this fountain would slake my thirst and give me the fullness for which I longed, for which I was made—that other three-quarters that I desired with all my being.

I shouted for joy! By myself I finally found the fountain I wanted!

Without considering whether the fountain belonged to anyone else, I held my cup to it. Yes! Water gushed in, filled my cup to the brim and then spilled over. Oh, how it quenched my thirst—more sumptuously than I ever dared to dream!

I drank and drank and drank until I was drunk with abandon.

Suddenly a strong hand grasped my shoulder.

Master Potter stood beside me. He shook me gently but firmly until I became sober again.

Coming to myself, I made as if to defy Him. "It was You who made me with this great capacity! Why did You give me a large cup and great thirst? Was it to taunt me by chaining me to a meager fountain that leaves me three-quarters empty? On my own I found a better fountain, another of Your fountains, which fills my cup to overflowing. It suits me better. So I want that one!" I pouted, stamping my feet.

Master Potter waited until my bitterness was spent. Then He quietly and simply replied, "My child, I deliberately allow some emptiness in your life and only provide what you consider partial fulfillment so that I may fill your cup with Myself. In Me there is fullness and abundance. In Me there is satisfaction and the slaking of all thirsts. Yes, I have promised that your cup will be full but not through waters from the fountains of temporal things or human relationships. They will always prove inadequate no matter how satisfying they may seem at the moment."

I pondered His words. "But...the fountain I found," I argued, "fills me more than the one You provided! I like this one. I want it! I want it now! You have given me the wrong fountain!"

He was patient. "For the present, in my shaping and transforming of you into My Son’s image, I have ordained that you drink from the fountain I gave you, the one that satisfies you only one-quarter full. I hold the future. Trust Me to know what is best for you. First be content to have the least—the quarter-cup. I reward obedience and faithfulness. Have I not promised, 'all these things shall be added unto you,' and 'no good thing will I withhold from them that walk uprightly'? Seek Me first, the One who has made you and not satisfaction from the things which I have made."

I fell at His feet sobbing, pleading, "But I can't keep on living with my cup three-quarters empty!"

Master Potter said, "You are right. By yourself you cannot. But through Me you can."

"Teach me, teach me how to do it then!" I cried desperately.

"I shall," He promised. "Day by day, moment by moment, trust and obey Me, delight yourself in Me, and I shall surely give you the desires of your heart."

I clung to His feet in anguish. How was He going to work things out? And when? How soon? I wanted to lift the curtain on the next scene to see what the future would hold. I simply had to know how His promise would be fulfilled.

Otherwise, how could I write the conclusion to this parable?

But He didn't tell me….

Lord! I must wait—not with reluctance or rebellion but in joyful submission, obedience and trust.

So I must leave this parable unfinished...for now....


(Resource verses: Isaiah 55:8,9; 30:18,21; Psalm 106:13-15; 37:4; 84:11;107:35)


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