Sponge or Cup


If you catch up with me here very often, you know I can be arrested by something I read that challenges the lens I use. That happened again when I was reading Troy Schmidt’s Fish Sandwiches: The Delight of Receiving God’s Promises. One little sentence caused me to look at an area more deeply regarding blessings.

I doubt there is anyone who isn’t hoping for blessings in nearly any and all areas of our lives. Many of us can sometimes miss the breadth of blessings we experience more days than not. Before you challenge that statement, let’s remember that the definition of the word is “God’s favor and protection.”  It is a broad statement that doesn’t outline the scope of blessings.


Some of us can look often at blessings related to our financial status either because we just received a raise or bonus or we feel we want or deserve one. Financial provision is clearly a blessing and it is likely that all of us will experience at least one season where the provision will change. Job loss or change for any number of reasons or unexpected large expenses will send our budget (if we have one) hurtling to the basement.

Some of us look at the blessings related to our health. That is more true of us if we or someone dear to us has experienced a loss in his or her health or we are getting older and things don’t work quite as well as they used to.

The truth is that we are most aware of our blessings when they disappear.


We become aware of the blessing of breathing easily when a cold or sinus infection suddenly creates congestion making breathing easily something that eludes us and we long for. We become aware of the ease of movement when an accident, illness, or arthritis assaults our body.

We become aware of the blessing of relationships in our lives when there is a change with one of them. Sometimes the change is a natural expected occurrence such as children going off to college or leaving home. Sometimes the change comes from a move, a divorce, or a death.

Change in a relationship causes us to reflect on what the relationship meant to us. We may see the bad, but often we will recall the good that we took for granted as well when it is no longer there.

We become aware of the blessing of freedom when it is taken from us. That happens in war and incarceration, but it also happens when we cannot drive ourselves wherever we choose and whenever we choose or when we develop diabetes or allergies that upend the diet we enjoyed and foods we most relish. Freedom in every sense of the word and in every area is a far greater blessing than many of us truly get.


The conundrum is what we do with blessings. Are we sponges that absorb them or cups that take in and pour out?

That question usually faces us related to financial blessings when we are asked to share or give more for one cause or another, but perhaps we miss that it goes farther than that. It also isn’t just about sharing our gifts or skill sets in various ministries or community organizations (even though that is good and needed).

Blessings from the Lord are often “exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3: 20-21). God is not stingy. He gives enough and more.

When He fed the 5,000+ people after Jesus had been teaching all day, they not only got enough fish and bread through the blessing and miracle of a boy’s lunch, there were also 12 baskets of leftovers. Have you ever wondered what they did with those? Maybe they passed them out to those who were poor and hadn’t been there or maybe they let people pack a few of them for the trek home.


I think Jesus wanted those on the hill that day to pass on more than the loaves and fish miracle story. He wanted them to pass on the blessing of the spiritual food that had filled them to overflowing and kept them spellbound listening for a very long time.

If I am a sponge, I only soak up more and more and more. I might forget that even a sponge has a limit and the answer is not to look for another sponge (or to build another barn as the rich man considered doing).

What am I soaking up without even a thought of pouring out?

What are you?

“Blessings are not gifts to be consumed, but resources to put to good use. Blessings do not stop with us. They continue on through us.”

Troy Schmidt

I am called to be grateful of blessings and how many there are that cannot even be counted, but they aren’t supposed to stop with me (or you).

Are you a sponge or a cup?


10 thoughts on “Sponge or Cup

  1. I am praying I am a cup! That I collect the blessings He leaves in the daily and pour them out. One of my limitations is my Alpha Gal allergy – I have to be careful what meats I eat. I wasn’t happy when I had to cut out everything with a hoof out of my diet – but I didn’t let it take away my kitchen joy or my eating-out joy. Maybe that is the key to keeping our eyes open to the blessings – being willing to adjust. I cannot imagine how hard that will be when I cannot drive and have to rely on others. Maybe it is learning how to take the space that you find yourself in and turn it into blessing – I’m going to think that idea over. Thank you for this insightful and mindful post on how to move forward when limitations seem like they are holding you back.

  2. Thank you from your SSPS Team and Esme for sharing your various links with us at #268 SSPS Linky. I am busy designing and creating an access database of IG and FB links and handles as you share your links with SSPS.
    If you have an account please let me know your IG and FB information then I can add and easily tag you when you’re in the top 5 and I promote your post. Feel free to email me at esme@esmesalon.com or in the comments

  3. Pam, this is so good. We do tend to take so many of our blessings for granted. Your point about age and freedom is becoming more real to me in my 70s. I’ve had to realize my limitations is some areas while still knowing that God’s people don’t retire from serving Him. So, I try to focus on the things God has most called me to do, counseling and writing, and leave VBS and other things to younger believers. Not because older women can’t serve in things like VBS but because I only have so much energy and I’ve found I need to focus more on how God has uniquely gifted me. That way I can still be more of a cup and less of a sponge. Thanks for the reminders. Blessings!

    1. Thanks so much for these kind words and encouragement. I understand well your season of life as someone who will be 80 this fall and with a husband dealing with chronic health issues. God uses us as we offer in different ways in different seasons. Have a blessed day and celebrate the freedom we celebrate July 4th as well♥️

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