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My Cup Runneth Over: Knowing God's Purpose for Us

I start my days early…I like the peace and quiet in the house when no one else is up yet. And there’s nothing like a warm cup of chai tea to help me start my day - yeah, I know, I am not a coffee drinker. Tea is for me! So, I’m filling the coffee pot for my hot water when I notice a large trailing stain coming from behind the coffee maker, going along the back of the counter and off the edge onto the floor. Yes, you can probably guess that my husband is a coffee drinker! And bless his heart, he likes to maximize each pot by filling it to the very brim to get every ounce he can from each brew.

Unfortunately, this strategy often results in a large trailing stain across the counter because when the pot is too full, it will run over! And when it runs over, it will spread across every surface in the vicinity. So, here I am, following the trail with my wet sponge, wiping up the stain, all the while thinking, “WHY does he need to fill that pot until it overflows?!” And, while trying not to feel annoyed by this often-repeated process, a thought pops into my head. It’s the well-known verse that contains “my cup runneth over” from the King James Version of Psalm 23:5, and I laugh to myself, thinking “Yes, this pot runneth over!”

Just a side note to this story, I really enjoy reading different versions of the Bible. Different versions use various wording that can bring new meaning to a passage of Scripture. My personal Bible is the New International Version (NIV) but I also have an old King James Version. There is just something about the Old English style of words in a King James Bible that I love! Somehow the verses seem more beautiful and majestic…like “my cup runneth over” instead of the NIV Version of “my cup overflows.”

So, after giggling to myself about “the pot runneth over,” I grab my cup of tea and head to my favorite chair to work on my Bible study homework in John 15. This familiar passage of Scripture talks about how Jesus is the vine, and we are the branches – we’re meant to abide in Him by remaining in the vine. When we remain in Him then we can “bear fruit” in our lives – things like love, joy, peace, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

This theme of “abiding in Jesus” has been coming up repeatedly in my Bible studies and devotionals for months now. God is trying to reiterate to me the importance of abiding in Him, resting in Him, and trusting Him. He’s trying to tell me that I don’t need to strive to impress Him and try to do everything exactly right all the time because that’s my natural tendency. I’m a perfectionist at heart! But God is telling me that I don’t need to be perfect. I just need to spend time with Him and simply accept His love.

And He assures me of this truth in John 15:9 when Jesus says, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love” (NIV). The English Standard Version (ESV) says “abide in my love,” but I really like the NIV word “remain.” The Merriam-Webster definition for remain says “to stay in the same place or with the same person.” To stay with God! It’s really that simple. He didn’t say “keep trying to do better” or “you’ll get it right next time.” He said, “Now remain in my love.” That’s it. Maybe I should stop striving and just stay put and rest in Jesus!

Then God went a little deeper in revealing His truth to me when I read John 15:11: “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and your joy may be full.” When I abide in Jesus, accepting His love and trusting Him, my joy will be full. I can be filled with God’s goodness and be satisfied. That’s a comforting concept!

And that’s when the overflowing coffee pot came to my mind. What happens when that pot is full? Yup, it overflows! It’s a passive action. Liquid overflows not because the container is actively causing it to spill out but because the liquid can no longer be contained within. There’s too much of it, so it spills out. And it occurred to me that I’m like an overflowing coffee pot - God’s goodness will spill over from me when I’m filled with the Holy Spirit. It's not by my action but through Christ’s action in me! I found several Scriptures that confirm this truth:

  • Romans 15:13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (NIV).

  • John 7:38 “Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him” (NIV).

  • Thessalonians 3:12 “May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you” (NIV).

When I’m filled with the Holy Spirit, His goodness can no longer be contained – it will overflow, and that “overflow” will bless others! That’s our purpose – we are meant to overflow! He fills us up, not just for our benefit, but also to bless others. Yes, God loves us…each of us, so much that He desires to fill us with His goodness. He wants each of us to be truly fulfilled and satisfied in Him. But He also wants us to share His blessings with others by pouring out His truth and goodness! It’s not just about us. It’s about how He changes our hearts with His goodness when we rest in Him and allow Him to do the work…allowing His goodness to overflow from within us!

This analogy has forever changed the way I view the process of making my morning cup of chai tea. God teaches us through simple everyday tasks if we really listen. But I’ll be honest…I will probably still be just a little bit annoyed when I first see that trailing stain across the counter, but thanks to God’s work in me, I will accept mopping it up with grace!


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