Keeping the Faith: Grace fills empty spaces

Published: Thursday, October 4, 2012 at 13:43 PM.

When the tea was ready, the Master brought it over and began pouring it in the scholar’s cup; and he kept pouring, pouring, and pouring. It filled the cup, ran over into the saucer, into the scholar’s lap and onto the floor! The scholar jumped up shouting, “Stop! Stop! The cup is full and running over! You can’t get any more in there!”

The Master stopped pouring and said: "You are just like this cup. You are so full of yourself that nothing else can get in! You come here asking to be taught, but I can teach you nothing until your cup is empty.”

None of us will receive God’s good grace or experience genuine transformation so long as we remain full of ourselves. The gospel is completely unappealing— it is downright repulsive — to those of us who feel that we can manage our lives with our own abilities, resources, accomplishments, or on own terms. As long as this self-reliance reigns supreme, the reign of God cannot take hold in our lives.

No, it’s not what we’re often told, but emptiness is not curse; it is the cure. Insufficiency is not the end; it is the beginning. Admitting that our hands hold nothing is not a liability; it is receptivity. And when we acknowledge that we have nothing left, it is then we have found the most important thing of all: The capacity and space to accept grace when it is offered to us.
 

Ronnie McBrayer is a syndicated columnist, speaker, and author of multiple books. You can read more and receive regular e-columns in your inbox at www.ronniemcbrayer.me.


 



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