By Tim Sullivan

For I was the king's cupbearer.
Nehemiah 1:11

In my teaching "The Power of the Lord was Present to Heal," I propose that all the necessary elements for a miracle converged when Jesus healed the man sick with palsy in Luke 5. The Lord desired to make himself known, the audience had ears to hear his message, and the person in need had faith to be healed – which is to say, he had faith in the Lord. As I reflect on my recent mission to Nepal, I am equally convinced that my success was due to the fact that all the necessary elements were present for an anointed presentation of the Scriptures. The Lord inspired me with the right message; he led me to the right audience, and because the Lord loves to use fools to confound the wise, I was the right messenger. Without any of these three elements, the result would not have been the same.

It would be false modesty to contend that I had nothing to do with my success. Ministers of God are not puppets on a string. I study the Bible diligently and work to craft my teachings so that I represent God well. I keep a line from Bob Dylan's song "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall" in my teaching notebook: But I'll know my song well before I start singing. But knowing a little about the Word of God is a far lesser achievement than creating that Word. The good fruit that comes from teaching the Bible is because it is the Word of God.

On those occasions when all the elements come together, it is a rewarding and thrilling experience. Who doesn't want to play a part in changing peoples' lives and bringing deliverance to their souls?

On the other hand, almost all Christians have experienced the frustration that comes with trying to tell someone about the Gospel when that person is not interested. It is just like trying to feed someone who is not hungry. Food that would otherwise be a delight to the senses is repugnant to a person without an appetite.

Before the Lord can do a work in someone, that person must have a hunger and thirst for what he has to offer. It is a blessed man who hungers and thirsts after righteousness because that hunger and thirst will be satisfied.

Matthew 5:6:
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

Recently my wife and I went shopping for a car to replace one that was damaged in a collision. Our salesman was a believer and he was interested in my mission work. He confessed that he was disappointed that his grown children did not share his interest in the church. He wondered if perhaps their life was so comfortable that they didn't feel the need for God. We assured him that this is a frustration shared by many Christian parents. We want to protect our children from suffering when so often it is suffering that compels a person to seek God.

A person must be thirsty before he will seek out and drink from the well of everlasting life.

John 4:13-15:
13 Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: 
14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
15 The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw.

No Christian can transfer his own spiritual hunger to another. However there is a way to whet that person's appetite. Followers of Christ are the salt of the earth. Salt both increases the appetite (who can eat just one potato chip?) and causes thirst!

Matthew 5:13:
Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. 

I often think about my own experience in coming to Christ. Every instinct I had told me to reject Christianity, and yet the peace and joy I saw in my new Christian friend made me want the same for myself. That salt that made me hunger and thirst for righteousness.

It is the privilege of all Christians to show the world the good things that Christ brings to their life. There is no testimony so convincing as a first-hand account. Those who have truly tasted of the Lord know that the flavor is good!

Psalm 34:8:
O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.

Perhaps our greatest "good work" is to share own testimony. That is all a Christian needs in order to be a light of the world.

Matthew 5:14-16:
14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 
15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 
16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

The good works of Christians are all due to the good work that was done by God "while we were yet sinners" (Romans 5:8). "We love him," says 1 John 4:19, "because he first loved us." Because of his love, we love one another. And through the love we have for one another, we make known Christ.

John 13:34-35:
34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

It is the privilege of any Christian to offer a ladle of the everlasting water to anyone who is hungering and thirsting for righteousness. In that moment the Christian is the cupbearer to the King of kings. As Nehemiah said, "I was the king's cupbearer."

I realize that I am taking some liberties with this verse. Nehemiah was serving the king of Persia, and the duty of the cupbearer was to protect the king from being poisoned. Of course this duty was only given to a servant with unimpeachable loyalty and trustworthiness. Such a person made it his business to know what was being served to the king!

However, within the confines of this teaching, I am presenting "the king's cupbearer" as one who offers the Lord’s cup to others. There is no danger in the water from his well, for his is the water of everlasting life. There is only the honor of serving the King of kings, and sharing the joy in heaven over one sinner who repents.

Luke 15:10:
Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.

Anytime a Christian offers the Lord's cup to those who are hungering and thirsting for righteousness, that Christian serves as the King's cupbearer and the bearer of his great and precious promises:

Revelation 7:16-17: 
16   They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. 
17   For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.

The LORD alone deserves the glory for creating such water. But what a privilege to be the cupbearer for the King! And how thankful I am for everyone who has ever served that cup to me.


Presented November 13, 2016 in Baton Rouge