Thursday, December 15, 2011

An empty cup

3:16 p.m. Today's project was to head over to Starbucks, get a peppermint mocha frappucino--yes, even this cold morning--and show my basket of pretty wrapped gifts to staff and patrons alike. Then I headed out to the patio to make booking phone calls. Today's emphasis would be on referrals from contented customers I have serviced in the last month.

I was bouyed by the news on Nightline that "Mary Kay Cosmetics is Responsible for Bringing America Back," with $2.5 billion in wholesale billings in 2010, in the depths of this terrible recession.  "Powder, Polish, and Pink Cadillacs" was reporter Terry Moran's byline. Wow! I am honored to be a small part of this wonderful organization!

I took my drink and my elegant gold gift basket to a sunny table and began my calls. But suddenly the sky darkened and a chill hit. Even I had to grab my things and head inside, and I don't usually get cold. Once I stepped inside, I saw a table almost in a corner, with big red easy chairs on either side. But I hesitated to sit, because there was an actual coffee mug with a spoon in it, along with dregs of coffee dried on the inside.

"No, just go ahead and sit down," a white-haired gentleman told me. "No one's sitting there. That's the oldest trick in the book, leave a cup to keep anyone from sitting down!"  I laughed and said, "Must be some character, like on the Cosby show where a man sits in their coffee shop each day loudly demanding that each patron read Conrad's Heart of Darkenss!" We agreed that that book is pretty serious, heavy reading, and went on to other subjects, including Romania where my son-in-law's parents hail from, the national debt, the wild success of the Mary Kay business, his retirement from Silicon Valley, the state of public education as a career, his uncle the assistant museum curator, retirement, Steve's Alzheimer's and the latest research.

It was kind of funny that neither of us understand the point of Twitter! Of my five kids, only the two who were the most popular and outgoing in high school, Kriss and Heather, twitter. The rest of us are content with Facebook. The man I was talking to did recommend "The Social Network," the film documenting the beginning of Facebook.  11:55 came, I had to go home to relieve Steve's caregiver, and we said goodbye. I threw in several mentions of the Lord, missions trips and ministry throughout our conversation, but I didn't get the impression that he was a believer. Prayerfully, some seeds were planted. I just constantly practice what the Apostle Paul exhorted Timothy--be ready in and out of season!

Reflecting on that empty coffee cup, I have to think about the most beneficial way to fill that cup. The worldly person will tend to fill it with education, achievement, a professional career, travel, extensive reading, good conversation--nothing wrong with any of those; in fact, I can relate to most of those items, whether before I was saved, or after. But there was always something missing before January 6, 1980, the day I got saved. There were times when there was no comfort to be had, no true enjoyment of events I would have taken my little son Sean to. But present with me  always was that nagging guilty conscience, an awareness of my sin, but no effective way to deal with it. I was like Paul's description of  himself in Romans 7:18-20:

For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.

We are all born sinners, but develop just enough of a conscience to know right from wrong, in the midst of doing wrong anyway! The sin nature of man has complete control over each of us, unless the Holy Spirit  woos us to repent of our sins, ask Jesus Christ to forgive us, and submit our lives to Jesus,  for the free gift of eternal salvation.

We all have a choice. Romans 6:16 asks,

Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves as slaves to obey, you are that one's slave to obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?

And Romans 6:23 wraps it up:

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

What will fill your cup? life or death?

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