The Gospel in a Teacup

 •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 5
It had been a long hike, and we were relaxing around the camp fire with cups of hot tea. One of us commented, "It took a lot of people to prepare this cup of tea! One got the fuel and made the fire, another boiled the water and brewed the tea, and I poured it out. All the rest of you have to do is to drink it."
"You must go farther back," said one of the party, as if afraid present company might get too much credit. "A man in India prepared the soil; others planted and tended the plant; others picked, dried and packed it; still others exported it; sailors brought it over the ocean; merchants bought it, and now-"
"And now, without doing anything, you are all drinking it!" the first speaker finished for him.
Another pointed out that this was a little like God's salvation-He did all the preparing, and lost sinners have only to receive and enjoy it.
He said it this way: "God promised salvation in the garden of Eden; it was prophesied throughout the Old Testament; it was perfected by Jesus Christ Himself, and now it is presented by the power of the Holy Spirit. All we have to do is to 'take the cup of salvation,' and be refreshed and saved."
How hard it is to get thirsty souls to see that God prepares this cup! They must, they imagine, bring their own sugar or milk, or at least they must bring their own cups. No; God prepares a perfect salvation through Jesus. He treats us as Queen Esther long ago treated the king saying: "Come this day unto the banquet that I have prepared." Esther 5:44And Esther answered, If it seem good unto the king, let the king and Haman come this day unto the banquet that I have prepared for him. (Esther 5:4).
God makes His invitation a strong one: “Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come!" Matt. 22:44Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage. (Matthew 22:4). The preparation is all on God's side. "Thou preparest a table before me." Psa. 23:55Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. (Psalm 23:5).
But this is the dinner table—let's get back to our teacup! It wouldn't say much for our cup of tea if all evening we were in doubt whether we had had a cup or not. Suppose someone said, "Have you had a cup of tea?"
Would the answer be, "I'm not quite sure; I half think I have, but I'm very uncertain." It would be pretty uncomplimentary to the maker of the tea, wouldn't it?
Nor is it to God's praise if, having drunk of His pardoning grace, we doubt whether we have ever tasted it. We must first drink what He has prepared, and then from grateful hearts give thanks to the Giver.
It is not even necessary to get one's heart into a right state to receive God's provision, for "the preparations of the heart in man... [are] from the Lord." Prov. 16:11The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the Lord. (Proverbs 16:1). I take God's salvation in all its perfect preparedness, and He takes me in all my unpreparedness.
No preparation can I make,
My best resolve I only break,
Yet save me for Thine own name's sake,
And take me as I am!