I often find myself rooting for the underdog in life. Whether it be children, a friend, a single mom in need, or even an injured animal, I find myself seeking to provide hope and support for the most defenseless. The roles that seem to define who I am in this world often remind me of the African philosophy of “ubuntu” — a concept in which our sense of self is shaped by our relationships with other people. It’s described as a sense of moral obligation regarding our responsibility for others even before thinking of ourselves. The community members surround or encircle an individual and remind them of who they are and all the good they have done. Unity and affirmation help restore and strengthen the individual.
This philosophy captures my desire to encircle the vulnerable people in my life. But as I help to remind others of their worth and value, I can find myself feeling depleted and needing the same “ubuntu” I can so easily give to others. With the rush of the day filled with commitments that “fill up” everyone else’s cup, my cup at times can feel so very empty. Sometimes it brings me to tears and ultimately to my knees.
It’s on my knees though where I find the fountain that can refill my cup. The one true “pitcher” filled with love that graciously pours until my cup runneth over.
In Ephesians 3:14-19, Paul reveals where we can find fulfillment when we are weary:
For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
When it comes to refilling our own cup, we often set aside our mug with just a swig left at the bottom and save it for later in hopes it will quench our thirst. It’s not long before we realize that our own emptiness is not healthy for our well-being. And even less for those that we are trying to come alongside and affirm.
In Psalm 23, David says, “My cup runneth over”. He uses these words to help us understand the overflowing, endless nature of God’s presence, protection, provision, and power. God wants us to bless others, but He also reminds us that in order for us to extend the love of Jesus to others, we need to be filled with Him.
God has more than enough to help us, regardless of the situation. His presence has no borders, His provision no end, HIs protection cannot be penetrated, and His power can’t be equaled. He is the ultimate example of “Ubuntu”, and His overwhelming love for us is what makes us His instruments. David shares with us that God’s blessing upon us wasn’t just for our use, but was designed to spill over so we can bless others.
In the moment when the tears are near and we are on our knees, lean on God to be the pitcher filling your cup. For when we are full of His love, we are then able to pour into others’ cups and point them to a deeper relationship with God.
And when you feel you just can’t go on, can’t give another ounce of yourself to others, remember God will keep His word! God is faithful and true, and he will uphold His word. He is the source of your hope, your peace, your comfort, and your strength.
My prayer for each of you as you head out to battle the day is that you can continue to provide a loving circle of support for the vulnerable in your life, but never forget that God is ever present to fill you up and make your cup run over. He will never leave you, and He is using you to bless others. May you enjoy the fullness of God in every aspect of your life!