Half-a-Glass of Water

In another lifetime ago, when I taught school, I liked to break the study of subjects with a little humor or thought-provoking intermission. One day, I had a half of a glass of water, and I was asking the proverbial question, “Is this glass half full or half empty?”

Typically, we say the half-full-folks are optimistic and the half-empty-people are pessimistic. I asked the question to this ninth grader, a good kid but not the smartest scholar in the room. His answer blew me away! He answered, “It depends; if you are filling it up, it’s half full but if you are pouring it out, it’s half empty!” His answer was brilliant, the best answer to that question I have ever heard.

Today, I was thinking about life and death when this conversational lesson came to mind. So, what does a half-a-glass of water have to do with life and death? “It depends, are you filling it up or pouring it out!”

In my last two years of high school and into college, I had some high aspirations. I was excited about my future and was interested in filling up my glass. In my last year of college, I was so eager and excited to get on with life. I was tired of school and ready to get a job, get married, get a home, and get on with life.

Now I am past the midpoint of my sixties, and I can see the other horizon in the distance. Lately, I had to make some health decisions that caused me to literally estimate my likely years and how those decisions would affect those years and those around me. It was somewhat sobering but also liberating.

Our mortal life is like a glass of water. We are either pouring in or pouring out. In reality, we are continually doing both. We are pouring into our glasses by learning, receiving, and growing. Then the pouring out takes place as we help others, share our lives, and hopefully leave the world a little better than we found it.

At some point in our lives, we realize the balance of our years are pouring out. I’m thankful God keeps that a mystery whether we have two days or two decades left. Now, more than ever, I realize that my next breath is in the hands of God, and I’m good with that!

If you are wondering, I have estimated 24 more years of water in my glass by the mercy, grace, and will of God. I just need to be sure not to tip the glass or break it.

Measuring our glass of water makes it imperative to make every drop count for the right reason. The word “legacy” makes me want to vomit. I find it very narcissistic and arrogant. I am not concerned about it. Most of us will not be remembered on earth after two generations anyway. I am more concerned about God’s record than man’s chronicles.

My Christian ethos directs me to do the best by loving Jesus and loving my fellow man. It drives me beyond a virtue of belief to a virtue of action. Our action is the real barometer of our belief. Thoughts and mere words without action is just hot air with no balloon to put it in.

As I get older, I am less attentive to the applause of men or to the criticism of men. I have learned from experience that I am not defined by the extremes of either. Also, I have learned that both fade about as fast as the dew on a sunny day, especially the applause. “Lord Jesus, just let me have some influence in filling Heaven and emptying Hell!”

So, my advice to you whether you are 18 or 81. Don’t fill your glass just to have lots of water. Fill it to have something to drink and something to share with others. Live each day with the thought that you must give an account to God for your pouring more than the water. Don’t just sit around and wait for the water to evaporate. One day your earthly glass will be empty, so make sure your eternal glass has been filled by the grace of the Savior.

Life is short and eternity is forever. Put your faith in Jesus.

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal;/ but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal./ For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” ( Words of Jesus, Matthew 6:19-21 NKJV).

Yours on the Journey,

Harry L. Whitt


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