WHAT’S IN A NAME?
When I first felt God nudging me to write and start this blog, I really struggled with a name. It seemed to me the name should have been the easy part but I struggled with it for months. I prayed about it. I talked my poor husband’s ear off about it. I made list after list. Finally, I prayed and fasted specifically about the blog name.
During that fast, I was reading in 2 Timothy and the word CROWN would not leave my mind. Shortly after that, I read a verse from Psalm about my cup overflowing with blessings. Cups to Crowns would not leave my head. To be honest, I didn’t want that name. I was asking God for something better…something cute and catchy. Something with the words love or faith or joy in it. But it was the only name that felt right. I ran it by my husband hoping he would dislike the name and would urge me to pick another. But he loved it!
This got me thinking and digging into the word even deeper. Why did God want this particular name? What was he telling me? For starters, he reminded me once again that all things of his are a process. You can’t put the cart before the horse or the crown before the cup. But that was just the start.
“Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.” (Psalm 23:5 KJV)
I am not sure if we are each given many cups in our life or if we receive one cup that we must drink from a bit at a time as God gives it to us. I do believe the contents of the cup are not for us to pick but our Abba Father in his mighty wisdom knows exactly what we need and when. After all, God cannot be tricked by shiny, pretty things. He cares more about our inside, our heart, than the outside that we can spit polish to impress others.
“And the Lord said unto him, Now do ye Pharisees make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter; but your inward part is full of ravening and wickedness.” (Luke 11:39 KJV)
CHRIST IS OUR EXAMPLE
In Matthew 20:20-28 we find a loving mother who approaches Jesus on her son’s behalf. She asks Jesus to give her sons special places of honor in heaven. Jesus tells them they have no idea what they are asking for. He asks them “Are you able to drink from the bitter cup of sorrow I am about to drink?” Of course, they are quick to tell him yes.
Aren’t we all like that? We want something so badly we refuse to look deeper to what it really involves. We only focus on the good, fun blessings. We don’t think about how much time we must invest, how much of ourselves we must give up for others. How many times have we quickly agreed to something only to suddenly wonder what in the world we got ourselves into? But God doesn’t go into a covenant lightly like we do.
Anyway, Jesus tells them they will indeed drink from the bitter cup but that he cannot grant them their desire to have positions of prominence in heaven. This whole conversation upsets the other apostles. Jesus tells them his people must treat others differently. They can’t have the mindset of worldly kings and officials. He tells them that as his followers, leaders must serve, not wait to be served.
Then in Matthew 26:36-46 Jesus has gone to Gethsemane to pray to his Father. He brought Peter, James, and John (from the earlier conversation) with him.
“He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, I drink it, thy will be done.” (Matthew 26:42 KJV)
Jesus knew what was about to happen wouldn’t be easy but “I want your will, not mine” was his heart’s desire. Jesus stopped praying and went back 3 times to check on his friends. All three times they grew weary and fell asleep leaving Jesus very alone. He woke them and went back to praying. Remember, James and John assured Jesus they were ready and able to drink from the cup Jesus was given. But they couldn’t even hold out with him for an hour!
OUR CUP IS TO BLESS OTHERS
Sometimes the cups we are given are a blessing. Sometimes the cups might feel like a punishment and leave us feeling very alone. Sometimes the cup may seem to be one thing and we later look back and see we had it all wrong since the cup was something else entirely. Sometimes our cups are to bless us and grow us. Sometimes our cups are so that we can bless others. Sometimes our cup is emptied quickly and sometimes it seems time stands still.
“The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: thou maintainest my lot.” (Psalm 16:5 KJV)
One thing is for sure. God gives each of us our own cup(s) and it is as individual as we are. We can’t hand off the cup or walk away if we desire to please our Abba Father and one day join him.
“Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword back into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?” (John 18:11 KJV)
“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that great day: and not only me, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:7-8 KJV)
CHRIST, OUR EXAMPLE
It says in Matthew 27:29 that while Jesus hung on the cross the guards, thinking they were so very clever, made a crown of long, sharp thorns and put it on his head. Jesus wore that crown of our humiliation and pain into death. He did that for each one of us.
But when Jesus comes back for his church, he will not be wearing a crown of mockery. Our Mighty King will be on a white horse with eyes like bright flames of fire and on his head will be many crowns as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!
OUR CROWN OF REWARD
Jesus told James and John’s mother that they would indeed drink from his bitter cup. He didn’t say they would be given his cup but that they would drink from his cup. It may sound like semantics but it is very important. Remember, we can’t take a cup that has been given to someone else.
If we drink from our cup and do all that God has requested of us, one day we will receive our crown. God doesn’t use this process to punish us but to give us time to grow so that he can shape up into the person he created us to be. It would be amazing and wonderful if it could happen the second we ask Jesus into our heart, wouldn’t it? But everything about God is a process and the thing with a process is that it takes time.
Just like our cup, our crown is not something Father God randomly hands out just because we were good in Sunday School or because we gave our extra coat to the homeless. Those are good things of course, but God sees the whole picture at once. He decides who gets a crown and who gets which crown. You can’t work your way to a crown and you can’t buy a crown.
“Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.” (James 1:12 KJV)
While on this earth, our time is not to be idle and self-indulgent. We are to be about our fathers business and drink of whatever cup we are given regardless of how our flesh feels about it. It is to be our pride and joy, our crown of glory, that we bless and encourage each other with our gifts and special abilities. We are to put others before ourselves.
Then we will be blessed to stand in front of Jesus Christ. Our cups will be filled with joy to see that others have also remained faithful and are standing with us. What joy unspeakable joy that will be!
“For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming? For ye are our glory and joy.” (1 Thessalonians 2:19-20 KJV)
So what cup has Father God placed before you? Accept and acknowledge it won’t be easy. Accept and acknowledge that your flesh will want to please your flesh but your spirit will want to please your father. Accept and acknowledge you will need the Holy Spirits help and direction. Whatever your cup, whatever your purpose, drink of it and have faith that your reward will come.
“His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord” (Matthew 25:21 KJV)
What else did I learn through this naming process? That sometimes when we ask for something “better”, God just smiles because he knows he has what is BEST.