It has been a very long time since I posted anything. It would take up so much space to tell of all that has happened and that I’ve been through so I decided to leave it packed away.
I collect tea cups. You know, the pretty ones like you see the British drinking tea from. I love those. I even have one that I purchased new (the others from garage sales) that I drink from time to time. It has pink flowers all over it. I love having a saucer to put my cup in, somehow it makes me feel like such a lady. Silly, I know, but I guess it’s a throwback thing from my childhood. I had an aunt who was like that, an elegant lady. It’s very hard imagining that I now live in a world where she is not. That situation is slowly coming to an end the older I get because one day I will join her in heaven.
But I digress – I do that from time to time and if I remember when you get to be my age you are allowed. Back to our tea cups. (I’m glad I had it written down so I would remember what we were talking about! I guess as long as I remember to pay the rent I’m doing alright.) I bought that tea cup brand new many years ago at a little shop in Door County. I’m not sure if the place that is there now is run by the same people because it has totally been refurbished, but the people there are quite friendly and helpful. I remember bringing the cup home and even though it wasn’t one of the delicate type, I was still so careful with it and wouldn’t drink from it for a long, long time. I just love looking at it.
One day, however, I decided to have a cup of coffee from it – looking back it’s a shame the first cup was coffee and not tea. Of course I washed it first before drinking from it, you never know what’s on the inside that you can’t see and don’t want any part of, for goodness sake. And there lies the crux of this blog – the “inside.” No matter how pretty and perfect without one chip on the outside, if the inside is not clean, it is not good for use.
Do you get where I’m going here? People are like that. They can be very pretty on the outside but ugly and dirty on the inside. They can be perfect in every way on the outside (just like the Pharisees) but revolting on the inside. A person may not be the prettiest teacup on the shelf, yet desirable and looks useful, yet on the inside have a filthy mess all around the edges. Do you know people like that? I do, or have in this long lifetime God has given to me. You see, it doesn’t matter how beautiful, clean, or desirable a cup looks on the outside, it’s the inside that counts. We don’t drink from the outside. Their beauty attracts from the outside but the dirt is still on the inside.
The problem is, when that teacup draws us in to touch it, admire it’s beauty, and then purchase it, we have just purchased a dirty teacup and we are excited to drink from it. We take it home and and in our excited state, forget to wash it first. We forgot to check it out to make sure it hasn’t presented itself to be beautiful when it was not. We put the kettle on, get out the tea, and forget to look on the inside of our teacup! We are so excited and happy and know this is the teacup we’ll drink from forever. We pour the water in, wait for the tea to steep (things take time), and then drink our first sip. At first we don’t notice anything, we are busy enjoying and admiring our teacup and call to let our friends know we have a beautiful new teacup. We take another beautiful sip and another and another. Finally, when we get finished drinking our tea, and we look further on the inside, we begin to see bits on the sides of the cup that don’t seem beautiful and clean like we thought. What happened? We are drinking something somebody else left behind! There it is at the bottom, all of that dirt and sludge! And we were just drinking from that! Then we remember, we forgot to wash this teacup before using it. Yuck – our tongue tastes funny and our throat feels coated and nasty. Our heart is heavy – we were so happy just a bit ago.
What to do? We’re stuck. Friends encourage us to wash that teacup, make it clean, we’ll like it. So, of course, that’s what we do. We put our teacup in soapy water and wash and wash, but something is wrong. There’s a very dark spot in the very bottom that just won’t come out! We keep washing and washing, telling ourselves that horrible black spot will come out. But, to no avail, it does not. Here we are, stuck with a dirty teacup but a beautiful saucer. We should have looked more closely before we bought it.
What would have happened had we “thought” and checked the teacup first? What would have happened if we had waited a little while, gone home to see if it would have been pretty on the shelf with the other teacups? What would have happened if we had waited to find a cup that was clean inside and out – we could have. We feel depressed for having a teacup that is dirty on the inside and pretty on the outside. We still like this teacup a lot, but it will never look like it did at first. It doesn’t look good with our other family of teacups so we can’t set it there. What shall we do with it? Should we try to take it back or should we just keep it and hope nobody else notices that dark spot? Will we really be happy for the rest of our life with this teacup, just looking on the outside and only just noticing the inside dark spot now and again? Will somebody else, who does not mind dark spots, come along and buy this teacup?
The smart thing would be just to pack it up and take it back, because no matter how many times we tell ourselves we will be happy with it, we know deep down inside we will not really be happy. But then we ask ourselves, do we really need to be that happy? Is anybody really that happy? We just can’t take our eyes off that outside beauty and selfishly feel we just cannot live without that cup and saucer, no matter what. Of course we can, we just feel that way. Wasn’t it feelings that got us to this place anyway? So, what do we do? Are we what we appear to be just on the outside, or are we true to our heart on the inside – one that is clean and ready for use?
You tell me.
God sees what’s on the inside. Psalm 44:21 – God would surely have known it, for he knows the secrets of every heart