My great grandmother, Mary Jane, came to America from the southern shore of England when she was a young woman. Of all the little ways of English life she continued to cherish here in America, tea time was a favorite. Throughout her 80 years, she always made time in the afternoon for a cup of tea. Unfortunately, all her teacups and saucers are long gone, likely lost in one of her many moves over her adult life. All that remains of her tea set is the silver cream pitcher brought with her on her journey so long ago.
Teacups were certainly a big part of the English tea time hour, and in the dusty corners of many antique shops those beautiful cups sit waiting to be claimed once again. There is a beautiful spiritual illustration about teacups that can bring us encouragement when we need a reminder that God has a plan for each of us. Teacups come in varied forms: from daintily painted and trimmed in gold, to solid- colored and sturdy. Imagine that each of us is like a tea cup, designed by a loving God Who fills each with abilities and giftings that He has chosen for us, and in that acceptance comes our contentment. There is no need for comparison, for we each have a purpose and a reason for being. In the challenges and trials of our times, as well as times of great joy and success, if we trust in Him then we remain in His loving care.
Paul’s life is a lesson in godly contentment, having faced prison, beatings, and the threat of death from his many haters more times than most strong men could bear. This murderer turned man of God learned to find contentment—always accepting what had been poured out for him:
Not that I speak from [any personal] need, for I have learned to be content [and self-sufficient through Christ, satisfied to the point where I am not disturbed or uneasy] regardless of my circumstances. I know how to get along and live humbly [in difficult times], and I also know how to enjoy abundance and live-in prosperity. In any and every circumstance I have learned the secret [of facing life], whether well-fed or going hungry, whether having an abundance or being in need. I can do all things [which He has called me to do] through Him who strengthens and empowers me [to fulfill His purpose—I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency; I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses me with inner strength and confident peace.] Philippians 4:11-13
Whatever may be in your cup today, whether good or challenging, be like Paul. Put your faith in the One who gives you inner strength.