Mug Versus Cup

Saturday, January 21, 2012
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Listen while you read: "There Is A Book That All May Read"1 (Lyrics)

1 Peter 3:7 – Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honour to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered. (NKJV)

Every morning, I have a cup of tea. I use my favourite mug. It holds 16 ounces and keeps my drink hot. It's ceramic and thick-walled, and the handle can fit all four fingers. The lip on it is rounded and smooth. I've had this mug for about 25 years, and if anything ever happened to it, I'd be seriously bummed out. It's part of my daily routine, a comfort.

In my cupboard, I also have a small, delicate, porcelain tea cup and matching saucer. It's gold-rimmed, a gorgeous, deep red colour, and painted with roses. It has been in my family ever since I can remember. My dad gave it to me when he passed on. I save it for special occasions; it adds an elegance and a sense of celebration whenever it's used. If I were to break it, I'd definitely shed some tears.

Which is better, my mug or my teacup? Neither. Although they are both designed to hold hot beverages, their roles in my home are different. If the queen came to visit, I'd hardly serve her tea in my hearty mug. If my brother came over to fix something, he'd get the mug — something he would prefer.

The teacup is the weaker vessel, but not the lesser vessel. It has a purpose and function similar to the mug, but it would be ridiculous for it to compete with or compare its use to the mug. Similarly, it would be ridiculous for the mug to compare itself to the teacup: "Ha, ha, I'm dishwasher safe." The mug and teacup are meant to serve in different ways, not "better" or "worse" ways.

If people are truly thirsty, they don't care if it's a mug or teacup that serves the drink. The container is secondary to what it holds. Sometimes when it comes to sharing the gospel, I don't feel that I'm the person for the job — I feel awkward, self-conscious, even apologetic for who I am. I forget that I am not the message, the elixir; I am merely someone who has been filled.

The Bible says that in a marriage, women are weaker vessels. Some take offense at this. I don't. I like to see myself as an exquisite porcelain cup, made beautiful by the Craftsman's hands and designed to serve my King. I think that He enjoys mugs and tea cups equally and fills them with His glory.

Prayer: Lord, we're sorry that we've put the focus on outward appearances. We're sorry that we've allowed ourselves to feel competitive with or offended by our brothers in the Lord. Help us to recognize that even our weaknesses can be used for Your glory. Please fill us and use us to share You with others. We love You. Amen.

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Kathleen Ageton <>
Wailuku, Hawaii, USA

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