The Empty Glass
[B]e filled with the Spirit, . . . giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
~ Ephesians 5:18-20
Most people are familiar with this question: Is half a glass of water half full, or half empty? The expression is used as a metaphor for an aspect of human personality; we might call it optimism vs. pessimism, or gratitude vs. resentment. And it applies to us all in a broad sense. Some people only have a few drops of water in their glass; some people, it seems, have everything. But these people whom life has blessed have, actually, a glass that is one drop short of full; for they will grow old and die.
In the secular world, what is important is how nearly full your glass is. Are you beautiful, rich, happy, smart, athletically gifted? Do people fawn over you? Or are you destitute, a victim of crime, fat, skinny, ill . . . ?
In Christianity, and in the eyes of God, however, how much water you have in your glass is irrelevant. Nobody's glass is empty; nobody's glass is full. No person is without sin and no person is beyond hope. We all fall short of the glory of God; and we might all be saved. So, is our glass partly full, or partly empty?
Without God, the glass is completely empty. No matter how small our gifts in life, or how great our pain and tribulation, we have a life; we exist; and that existence is utterly and completely a gift from God. We also have the love of Christ and His sacrifice for us, that we might know Him and be saved, to live one day in eternal peace and joy with Him. And so, no matter how great our trials in this life, we owe God gratitude, for both our existence and our salvation are not ours except by His grace, His gift.
Gratitude honors God. Gratitude is the echo of grace as it reverberates through the hollows of the human heart. Gratitude is the unashamed acceptance of a free gift and the heartfelt declaration that we cherish what we cannot buy. Therefore gratitude glorifies the free grace of God and signifies the humility of a needy and receptive heart.
Lord, however great or small my lot may be in this life, let me always be grateful to you, for without You, I have nothing at all. Amen.
~ Mason Barge
Editor, Daily Prayer