Friday, January 23, 2015

Mea cuppa (or, I licked a cup, and I didn't like it)

From my old blog's archives. Originally posted 03/22/03

I did a funny thing at work this week.

I have plastic cups I fill with water from the drinking fountain so I can use one for a day then toss it -- get a fresh one the next day. I've told co-workers to help themselves when they need a cup, just as people are kind to loan me something from time to time. Just the Christian thing to do, of course.

But recently when I went for a cup they were all gone, and it hadn't been that long since I'd replenished the supply. Fed up, I wrote a kind, but stern note and attached it to the next package of cups stating that while anyone was welcome to help himself from time to time, please buy your own cups if you want them on a regular basis.

Move to this week now, when my index finger had gotten extremely sore from too much mouse clicking. I got a cup, filled it with hot water, and soaked my ailing finger therein. Not wanting to waste a cup, I figured I'd just toss that one back into the desk drawer and use it again the next day if need be.

Guess what? When I got to work the next day, someone had taken the cup. They'd drank out of my nasty finger-bath. Tee hee, served 'em right, I thought. So when I finished with my drinking cup that day I licked the entire rim and tossed it into the drawer. Next morning, yep, it was gone.

I just woke up today with Jesus' admonition to give to everyone who asks, expecting nothing in return, on my mind. So now I'm publicly repenting. Thing is, I've struggled with that admonition a lot since I've worked at a downtown area with lots of panhandlers. While I'd like to follow the will of my Lord, I don't want to give someone money to blow on booze or drugs.

I have a friend who works at an AIDS outreach center who advises to never give money to anyone on the street. She says the chances are 100 percent it will be used for drugs. In fact, she says not to even give them food, because they'll just trade it in for drugs. Mind you, she isn't some cynic; her life calling, after all, is helping people in need.

But back to my co-workers. I shouldn't have a dilemma there at all. I know my friends aren't filling those cups with cheap liquor -- they're filling them with water. And numerous times throughout the Bible water is used as a metaphor for a renewed life filled with God's Spirit.

Shame on me.