'Only' limits the possibilities of what we can do with God

Sunday, March 6, 2011

"I'm only a cup bearer; what can I do? I spend my days standing in the gap between the king and those who wish him harm. Day after day, meal after meal, I receive the cup, then carry the cup to the king and sample the contents in his presence. Then we all wait with bated breath to see what harm happens. If nothing, I leave only to repeat the process within a few hours. Yes, there is risk. Yes, there is danger. Yes, I do fear that enemies will make their way into the kitchen with their poisons. But really, I carry a cup. Anyone can do that."

How many times do the words "I'm only" poison our vocabulary? This toxic phrase traps our willingness to see beyond the present reality into the divine possibility. "I'm only this, my family is only that." We limit the possibilities of what God can do and in many cases wants to do through us by relying upon a limitation thrust upon us or someone else.

When Nehemiah heard of the complete destruction and ruin of his home city he wept and he prayed. Filled with compassion for what had happened he had to do something, but what, he was only a cupbearer.

Compassion comes from a word that where our word for the study of intestinal medicine. The original word for compassion expresses not just an emotion but a deep punch in the gut. When feelings of compassion come upon you they come from the deepest part of your gut. They move you. Compel you to act and often make you nauseated.

Nehemiah was overwhelmed with compassion for what had happened to his homeland, his people, his family. He was drowning in compassion that flooded him, overwhelmed him, compelling him to act. He had to do something. But he was only a cup bearer, a beverage waiter. What could he do?

What we believe to be mundane and meaningless God can turn on its head to do amazing things through. Instead of looking at his role as "only a cup bearer," Nehemiah looked at the opportunity his service role provided. He was the cup bearer. He held audience with the king several times a day, day in and day out. He held the king's eye and the king's trust. He was the Lord's available servant. What else did he need to be?

Rob Hurtgen is a husband, father, minister and writer. Read more from him at www.robhurtgen.wordpress.com.

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