Cups of Character

I spent time with Jeremiah the other morning. To be specific, I was in the potter’s house. While at the potter’s wheel, God spoke to both Jeremiah and me about shaping and reshaping clay into a usable pot. Jeremiah 18:5-6 says, “Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘O house of Israel, declares the LORD, can I not treat you as this potter treats his clay? Just like clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel.’” Let us declare the words of Isaiah 64:8. Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of Your hand.

The pot I thought about was a cup – not just a bowl. A cup is a bowl with a handle attached. Jesus says in John 15:5, I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in Me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing.I imagined myself being a cup. The handle of my cup was where God placed His hand. Isaiah 41:10 tells me, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.

I meditated upon my being a cup held in God’s hand. I am a usable cup that can fulfill a purpose because I am held in God’s hand. What fills my cup? Jesus answers my question in John 7:37-39. “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’ But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” I am filled with the Holy Spirit so I can fulfill the plans and purposes God has for me according to Jeremiah 29:11. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Each of us is a unique cup formed in the Potter’s hand for a specific purpose. The Lord says in Jeremiah 1:5, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.

I think about my cups and mugs. Let’s look closely at a few of these containers to discover the various purposes portrayed.

One of my most cherished mugs features a picture of a heart puzzle. Each piece of the puzzle has the name of one of our six grandchildren. Proverbs 17:6 NLT says, “Grandchildren are the crowning glory of the aged; parents are the pride of their children.I desire to pour out my love upon these precious ones and invest in their lives.

I spot my husband’s favorite liquid container. It is a sturdy dark green mug with a yellow John Deere emblem. He grew up on a farm with a John Deere tractor. He is still a farmer at heart. A farmer works in fields plowing ground, planting seeds and harvesting crops. Matthew 13 records parables related to seeds and weeds. Jeremiah 4:3 NLT says, Plow up the hard ground of your hearts! Do not waste your good seed among thorns.Plowing is a spiritual metaphor for repentance.

I handle another mug our son gave my husband. It is a clear thick mug with a sports emblem. Athletes are physically strong. There is also a need for us to be spiritually strong. Joshua 1:9 says, Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.

I inherited a small collection of teacups from my mother. Teacups are delicate and easily broken. I do not trust just anyone to handle these fragile cups. Maybe God has entrusted me with T cups that are containers of my Time, Talent and Treasure. Proverbs 3:5-6 tells, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.

I have a teacup that belonged to my mother-in-law. There is an image of the World Exposition 1893 imprinted on it. It reminds me of Jesus’ words in Mark 16:15. Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.

I also have a couple of child-sized teacups. I felt privileged when I received them as a child. They were like my mom’s cups – only smaller. Small but still special. Zechariah 4:10 NLT warns, “Do not despise these small beginnings.” I Timothy 4:12 says, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” Jesus says in Matthew 19:14, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.

Each of us can be described as a cup or a container. I have described several of my cups. Our cups and lives have a greater purpose than to just occupy space. We are to be used in the Potter’s hand as well as held in His hand. Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

We must be sure our cups are clean. No one wants to drink from a dirty cup. II timothy 2:21 NLT says, “If you keep yourself pure, you will be a special utensil for honorable use. Your life will be clean, and you will be ready for the Master to use you for every good work.” We are to be vessels of honor who fulfill God’s purposes. We are fashioned to be containers of the Holy Spirit. We are not to be cups full of conceit and selfishness.

Cups can be filled with either hot or cold drinks. If I let a cup of coffee set too long, it becomes lukewarm and is not desirable. If I have a mug of iced tea and the ice has melted, it is no longer refreshing. Revelation 3:16 says, “So, because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of My mouth.I don’t want my faith to become lukewarm!

I desire to be a cup held in God’s hand. I want to be filled with the Holy Spirit because apart from God I can do nothing. It is a blessing to have my life placed upon the Potter’s wheel and made into the vessel God designs.

My Reader, what kind of cup would describe your life? Don’t be a disposable cup! Disposable cups are not good for the environment of Christ. God has a plan and purpose for you.