A CUP WITH NO PURPOSE by Drew Tilton
What is impressive about a cup? A cylinder with the top end open and the bottom closed. Sure, one can be styled up to look ornate, perhaps even to attract some praise. But no matter how beautiful it is, a bottomless one is of little value. A cup exists to hold something. A house is the same. There are certainly incredible mansions and beautiful dwellings, but if one sits empty, is it truly meeting it’s intended potential? It’s purpose, first and foremost, is to serve as a container for what is inside. When a cup is best fulfilling it’s purpose, it is an afterthought to what it contains.
I, at one time, was a part of a church with a beautiful campus. (That’s right, not a building. A campus.) In fact, I am not sure I’ve seen one more incredible. Often people visiting would comment “Oh, what we could do with a campus like this,” or “If we could just have a building like this one…” I wasn’t always sure why, but often these comments would always rub me the wrong way. It wasn’t that they were completely off base. It was an incredible space that I often took for granted, but somehow I knew that they had missed it.
What was special about that place though, had never been it’s outside shell (as incredible as it was). Rather, it was the space it created. Space where people walked me through the best and worst moments of my life (and everything in between). Space that fostered a community that produced my best friends, my pastors, my mentors, and my wife. Space where we all worshipped Jesus together. Space that allowed me to cry with, shout at, and be transformed by Him. It was a space where I grew, ministered, experienced breakthrough, experienced freedom, was baptized, was married, where I and my brother baptized my dad, and mourned the loss of my dad. I know that those buildings were made most beautiful by the stories played out inside of them.
The purpose of our new container
As I’ve been thinking about our new building and the kind of space I desire it to be, I have come to this conclusion: a building that finds it’s greatest honor in itself, is an empty cup searching for purpose. It is a house that has never been a home. Instead a building, like all other containers, is meant to find fulfillment in what it holds.
Don’t hear me wrong. This building and it’s design are of the utmost importance. We need a place that is designed with community in mind and Christ at heart. A space that communicates God’s embrace of the wandering and the weary. A container to hold a community of people striving to love God and love others well. We want it to be a place where we feel comfortable to laugh with friends, cry with family, pray for the hurting, welcome the lost, and worship the Lord our God.
I pray that this container be God’s pouring out point for his Spirit on every kind of people. A place where our sons and daughters will prophesy, our young people will see visions, our elderly dream dreams. May it be a cup that does it’s job so well that it is merely the backdrop to the incredible work that God will do in it. Not just on Sundays. But every day. In new and creative ways.
And like no other cup, the contents of this container are intended to overflow. We pray that God will send the love incubated here out across all our cities. That the freedom found here be sent like shockwaves throughout our lives and the lives of those we encounter. That his kingdom come and will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
A beautiful humble purpose
My hope in communicating the humble purpose of our new space is not to devalue it at all! Rather I hope that in this we can value it all the more. That we would see beyond the external beauty that it will undoubtedly have, and look more to the internal beauty that it will undoubtedly hold.
So as we approach the excitement of our new building, I hope this will shape our enthusiasm and vision of the future. I envision a space that will be the stage for Jesus to declare good news to the poor, deliverance for the captive, sight for the blind, and freedom for the oppressed. I pray for a cup that overflows with the beauty of God’s Church. It is in this that we will find that our new house has become our home. // Drew Tilton, Youth Pastor. firstname.lastname@example.org