The final word of Psalm 23:5 I focused on was the word CUP. When shepherds had to carry water to the flock they would fill the bucket or trough to the brim. A full bucket was easier than a nearly empty bucket to drink from. In mid-eastern culture the full cup is a sign of hospitality. To keep a guest’s cup “topped off” conveyed the message, “you are welcome, feel free to stay longer.” We can sense the same thing in modern culture in restaurants. If a server keeps your glass full, it’s a sign that your presence is welcome. When they stop filling up your glass, well, it may mean that its time to pay your check and leave in order to make room for some other hungry customer.
Here, the full cup is a picture of God’s abundant blessings. God is not stingy with his blessings. He’s not a tight wad. He’s generous to his children. So what do we do with these blessings? What is our response to the generosity of God?
Our first response to God’s blessings should be gratitude. Gratitude is important because it cultivates humility. When we thank God, or anyone else for that matter, we acknowledge that the blessings do not come from ourselves. We didn’t earn them, and we certainly don’t deserve them. God’s blessings are an act of grace. Gratitude and humility are never far apart. This is an important reminder for those of us in western civilization. I read a statistic last week that reported that if a person earns $22.00 per day they are wealthier than 75% of the world’s population. That staggering statistic alone should be reason enough to pause and express thanks to God for all he has provided.
Our second response should be to share the blessings with others. The theological significance of the nation Israel in the Old Testament illustrates this principle to perfection. God’s people were blessed, not so they could have and hoard, but so they could be a blessing to the world. Whatever blessing you have received from God is to be shared with others. Those blessings are not for you to stockpile and keep in reserve.
Our third response is to ask God for a bigger cup. In other words, ask God to increase your capacity so you can increase your Kingdom influence in the world. Jesus said it this way: “Give and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back” (Luke 6:38, NLT). Some understand this to mean that Jesus is saying, “Give so you can get.” That’s not totally accurate. I believe Jesus is saying, “give so you can increase your capacity to give even more.” You’ve heard it before. You’re life is a river, not a reservoir. God’s gives his blessings to you so he can get his blessings through you. If God can’t get his blessings through you, why should he give you more?