What is This Glass to You–A Matter of Perspective

My pastor said something the past two Sundays that made me think of this picture. What do you make of this picture? It is a take on the classic image used to indicate perspective. You may remember the question, “Is the glass half empty or half full?” Your answer, of course, is supposed to indicate whether you are an optimist or a pessimist. There are more ways to look at it, though. Let’s Look at a few.

Common Views of the Glass

The Optimist

“Half-full.” The optimist sees the potential of the glass before the “short-comings.”

The Pessimist

“Half-empty.” The pessimist will more likely see what is missing before the potential.

The Realist

“It’s about 50%,” It’s just a fact. There’s the view of potential or lack of substance is secondary.

The Engineer

“The design of the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.”

The Physicist

“It’s actually 100% full, so to speak. Only 50% that is visible is water.”

What about this glass?

Those were views of the rhetorical “glass.”  But what do people think about the glass in this picture? In today’s world, the answer seems to be more complex. I wouldn’t be surprised, actually, if someone who disagreed with a certain perspective would associate that opposing perspective with a political party (i.e. “You think it’s half-empty? You must have voted for So and So”).

However, we’re pretty analytical collectively. We can make things more complex than they really are. What are some more perspectives?

The Analyst

“The glass is actually more like 55%, not half.”  This is missing the point of the idiom, but the point is moot in their eyes.

The Purest

“What is that other stuff? That’s not just water.” Or, “is that filtered?” Let’s look at the purity of the content before the overall point.

My Mind–The Tangent

“Isn’t that a wine glass? Who would use water in a wine glass besides Jesus?” (see what I did there?)

The bottom line

I’m mostly joking with all these. I’m not a psychologist, so I don’t know how accurate the perspectives are to personality types. But I say all this to say this: Maybe we’re all looking at it wrong.

If this glass is your individual life, how content are you with the contents? When you look at your life, do you see potential (optimist)? Do you wish you had more (pessimist)? Do you look at the actual value (realist) or think about how poorly you are designed to have the life that you have (engineer)?

All those views negate one important thing–the source of the water. As author Holly Gerth put it in her book, You’re Made for a God-Sized Dream: Opening the Door to All God Has for You, the glass was looked at in another way. Rather than seeing it as half empty or half full or whatever else, let’s look at where the water is coming from. God is the provider of the water and everything in it! He doesn’t have to provide, but he does. We can be better off or worse off than we are in our cups, but from God comes a never-ending flow.

I challenge you to look at things differently, just for today. What if, for one day, we “don’t think it’s about the glass at all but instead who is filling it?” (from the book). What if we look past the cliche and to the creator? Look at your life and everything in it as a blessing. It could be grand or small, but it is all a blessing. If you are not able to do that, send us a prayer request and we’ll help pray you through your situation that is holding you back. You can also read this book, I recommend it.

I think this is so important, as believers especially. Let’s make sure that we’re all not looking at the wrong thing. We can praise Him in all things, good or bad, when we fix our eyes on Jesus. It’s the secret to being content.

Philippians 4:11 “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

I think it’s about being far-sighted, rather than short-sighted. Even in a situation as grave as a terminal illness… A situation which is not about being thankful for what we have, so much as finding the strength to sustain us and praise Him through it… It’s not like we are going to say “Thank you God for my terminal illness!” Lol! And we know that sickness and death isn’t a product of God, but rather of sin anyway, so we wouldn’t thank Him for that. But we have a choice, still on how to view that, and to find the blessing from God in it. Do we sit and drown in hopelessness, having only the short-sightedness to see impending death? Or do we look far past that into the hope of eternity with Christ? To be far-sighted is to rely on His strength, to drink from the cup that never goes dry.

Romans 8:18 “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” <——How can we not see the blessings around us with a promise like that in front of us?

So, if you accept the challenge today, I hope you are reminded tomorrow and the days to come. Remember the living water in Jesus.

John 7:38 says:

Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’”

Your turn

Have you read this book? Do you have something to add? Please comment below!