Once upon a time there was a furniture maker who not only was known in his village for his fine craftsmanship but in the nearby villages as well. He had no shortage of work, was wealthy, and bragged that he was the finest furniture maker that there was, which no one disputed.
On one particular day the village pastor was paying him a visit, as he had done many times before. The furniture maker had resisted the pastor’s efforts to help him find God. The pastor exclaimed in frustration, “I don’t know what else to tell you. I’ve told you the truth about God time and time again. Why can’t you accept it?”
Bent over a piece of wood, sanding it, the furniture maker shrugged his shoulders, “I don’t know. I believe what you say is true about God. I just don’t need that truth right now. My life is good.”
The village pastor moved to a chair in the corner and, remaining silent, watched the furniture maker work, not knowing what to say that could make a difference. Just then a friend of the furniture maker walked by the open door of the carpenter shop and paused. The village pastor, seated in the shadowed corner went unnoticed by the friend in the doorway. Raising a jug he was carrying in his hand, he said, “My wife has just made some fresh squeezed lemonade that I’m taking to my son and his friend who are working in the hot sun. Would you care for some?”
“I certainly would,” said the furniture maker. Looking about he saw and retrieved a mug from on top of a stack of boards. He glanced into the mug, moved past his friend in the doorway and tossed the contents of the cup into the street. He then extended the mug to his friend and let him fill it with fresh lemonade.
The friend having left, the furniture maker sipped the lemonade as he returned to his woodworking project. The pastor stood and walked out of the shadows to stand near the furniture maker. “What was in the mug before your friend filled it with lemonade?” he asked.
“Yesterday’s coffee,” the furniture maker replied.
“Why did you empty the mug of the stale old coffee before letting your friend pour you some of his lemonade?”
With an incredulous look on his face, the furniture maker said, “It’s obvious, isn’t it? I had to empty the mug of the stale coffee before having it filled with the lemonade.”
The village pastor started to leave, but as he did so he said, “I too have offered you something better than anything you now have, but you cannot receive it. You’re so full of your old self that you cannot be filled with the newness of God.” And with that the village pastor left the furniture maker to his thoughts.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13