My morning mug of coffee is telling me “With God all things are possible.” I know this is true because I am writing this first draft at 7:30am with my coffee sitting beside me.
For about a month now I have been telling myself that I must get out of bed earlier and start taking advantage of every minute of the day. It was not happening. It seemed that 8:00am was the earliest time my body could feel awake and even then my body usually fought me until 9:00. I was getting lazy.
So I did the most proactive thing that I could think to do. I bought a new coffee mug. Now, I may have over 10 coffee mugs in this apartment already, and since James and I haven’t even touched our coffee pot in about 8 months you think that would be enough. However, none of my other ones were inspiring. This pretty white and black mug had “Hope” written in bold letters across the front with “Matthew 19:26” written below it. On the inside lip, where one could read while they sip it reminds us that “With God all things are possible.” I was ready. I was going to start setting the program on my coffee pot for 6:00am, so James could grab a cup before he went to work too. I would set an alarm for 6:30am and hopefully roll out of bed by 7:00.
For that first month that cup looked really pretty sitting next to my red coffee maker. I continued to wake up at 8:00am or later. Never setting my coffee pot alarm.
We do this a lot don’t we? We lay out these plans to follow. We buy the first gadget we see that promises to make these plans easier. We expect our new object to magic us into the person we want to be. We hope that it will fulfill our goals for us or somehow make it easier for us to be who we want to be.
My new coffee mug promised me none of this. I laid upon it unrealistic expectations. This ceramic and painted cup does not make all things possible. God does.
Matthew 19:26 “Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
What a nice inspiring verse right? Unfortunately, we misuse it. God does not promise to fill me with the energy to get out of bed. Yes, I will probably be more successful if I pray and trust in God to help me be a better person, but that does not mean that buying a “spiritual” mug and saying a prayer for energy at night will get me from under the covers in the morning. This verse does not promise me that.
A rich man once asked Jesus how he could get into heaven. Jesus told him to follow all the commandments. To be perfect. The rich man arrogantly said that he already does this (ha). I am sure Jesus shook his head, this man had missed the point, no one is perfect. The Lamb of God then pointed out the one thing the arrogant man lacked. He needed to go and sell all of his possessions and give them to the poor.
This was something this man could not do. He was not so perfect in the end. Jesus is the only perfect one. He is the only one that could get into heaven on his own merits. The rest of us are tainted by sin and there is no way that God would allow us to track our muddy shoes onto his perfect white carpet of heaven.
This is when Jesus said that it is hard for the rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. This is where Jesus said it is harder for them than it is for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle. This is where Jesus said “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
We have tragically misquoted this Bible verse. We have diminished it. This line was not said as a pep talk, it was not said as a promise for help in our everyday life, and it will not make life easier for us. It looks cute on the side of my coffee mug, but I fear that we misquote these words of Jesus. He did say them, unlike the people attributed to the other quotes I have posted here this morning, but he was promising so much more than we give him credit for.
God makes is possible for us to enter His kingdom of heaven. We cannot do it on our own. Jesus makes it possible for even the worst of us sinners to enter into the kingdom. He has bent down and washed the mud off of our feet. He took all of our dirt upon himself and nailed it to the cross. He then left it in death as he returned to us three days later. So now, when we show up in heaven our feet and our souls are clean.
So maybe my mug is not promising me that God will help me wake up in the morning. That is okay. It is promising something better.
(Yes, all three of the quotes I have posted here were not actually said by the people they are most attributed to. I can tell you Marianne Williamson said the “deepest fear” quote. I have never heard who truly coined the other two).