• Gugulikayise Vilakazi

You can pour from an empty cup!

This is probably an unpopular opinion but it is a biblical one. I do not know about you but I cringe whenever I hear the saying, "you cannot pour from an empty cup". Is this saying even biblical? Why are Christians, especially women, using it so much? I really can't with this me-centered theology specifically targeted at women. It is so sad to see that a lot of Christians have jumped onto the 'self-love' and 'self-care' train because that is so me-centered and goes against how we are to love and be servants to other people.

The first time I probably thought that saying was trash was when I saw a post saying, "I do not need to fill my cup, I am already filled with the Holy Spirit." I was like, wow. After years of being told to fill me up first. To be fair, I was not a Christian all those years before so perhaps I did need to fill myself up with whatever I thought would fill me up, but now that I am in Christ, do I not have all that I need (which is Jesus) to do what I need to do? The Christian life is a life of unselfishness and servanthood. We are called to not only look after our interests but also the interests of others. (Philippians 2:3-4)

If we had to fill ourselves up before we poured onto other people then we would never pour onto other people. We will never reach a point where we feel we are full enough. It is always going to be a constant need for refilling if we try to do so by our means. Pauls says in 2 Corinthians 12:9, "But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me." When we are weak and feel empty, that is when Christ can work through us best. I know when I am depressed and just feel like I could just die, I quickly snap out of that when I focus on other people. Let me do a video, let me start a blog. You would be surprised by the number of times I have found myself encouraging other brothers and sisters in the Lord while I, myself weren’t at all in my best state and the beautiful thing is that it was all God. I was not relying on my wisdom or strength but I was relying on God to work through me for His glory.

In no way is this saying we should not rest. Rest is biblical. Even God rested the 7th day after working for 6 days. (Genesis 2:2) But what are we doing while resting? Filling ourselves up with the Word of God? Praying? Even Jesus took time away with himself, but He was praying while doing that. (Luke 5:16) Nothing wrong with rewinding by going to a spa date or watching a TV but none of what the world offers as self-care tips fill us up. Only Jesus can fill us up if we feel empty.

The question now is what do we do when we feel empty? When we are tired and depressed? The answer: Draw close to God. Our toughest days are when we should be going to God and relying on His strength to do what we are to do. The psalmist in Psalm 121:1-2 says, "I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth." Psalms 73:26 says, "My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."

As Christians, we are not to be selfish. Imagine if we had no missionaries because they would rather be at the comfort of their own home. Or do you think the apostles had time for bubble baths whereas the urgency for the gospel to be spread was real just as it is much real today?

I am going to close off with this quote from Elisabeth Elliot: "Do you often feel like parched ground, unable to produce anything worthwhile? I do. When I am in need of refreshment, it isn't easy to think of the needs of others. But I have found that if, instead of praying for my own comfort and satisfaction, I ask the Lord to enable me to give to others, an amazing thing often happens - I find my own needs wonderfully met. Refreshment comes in ways I would never have thought of, both for others, and then, incidentally, for myself."

Yours in Christ



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