Can You Drink the Cup?

Can You Drink the Cup? is a classic for pastors.

Steve Willsey, associate pastor, Spencerville church, Silver Spring, Maryland.

When Henri Nouwen died prematurely last year, pastors everywhere lost a kindred spirit. Many of his 30 books and various articles were addressed to pastors, and he was a frequent speaker at pastoral gatherings.

Can You Drink the Cup?, a classic for pastors, was published shortly before his death. Nouwen, who taught at Notre Dame, Yale, and Harvard, became tired of the competitive atmosphere of academia and sought peace at a home for those with disabilities and spent the last 10 years of his life as a pastor and personal caregiver. Can You Drink the Cup? is a moving challenge based on Jesus' question to His disciples in Matthew 20:20-23. Nouwen says, "I want to tell the story of the cup, not just as my story, but as the story of life" (p. 19). In the autobiographical material I found it easiest to understand what drinking the cup means for my own life.

The disciples recklessly claimed that they could drink the cup. Early in our ministries most of us probably would have done the same, feeling ready for anything that life might offer. But nearing the end of our ministerial career, we might not be so sure, nor would we agree quite so readily to taking everything we may have been dealt through the years. Nouwen, however, helps us come to accept our particular cup. "Drinking the cup," he writes, "is the way to salvation. It is a hard, painful way, a way we want to avoid at all costs. Often it even seems an impossible way. Still, unless we are willing to drink our cup, real freedom will elude us" (p. 91).

Nouwen suggests three disciplines that may help us drink our own cup. I was surprised to discover how silence, speaking, and acting can become disciplines of grace. Read this small book of 111 pages and be blessed as you practice these disciplines for yourself.

Ministry reserves the right to approve, disapprove, and delete comments at our discretion and will not be able to respond to inquiries about these comments. Please ensure that your words are respectful, courteous, and relevant.

comments powered by Disqus
Steve Willsey, associate pastor, Spencerville church, Silver Spring, Maryland.

June 1997

Download PDF
Ministry Cover

More Articles In This Issue

Understanding Israel in Prophecy

Understanding the prophetic continuity between literal Israel and the contemporary Christian church exposes our identity and destiny

Pastoral Roles in Adventism's First Century

An insightful chronicle of the development of the pastoral role in Seventh-day Adventist history

Integrity: The pastor's ultimate ally

The crucial role of integrity in the life and ministry of the pastor

Outreach in the Hindu Context

Principles for communicating Christ to non-Christian people

Ellen White and the Basics of Salvation

A wholistic synopsis of Ellen White's teaching on justification and sanctification

The leader under stress

Third in a five-part series on pastoral leadership

Catch the vision

An inspiring commentary on the need for a clear, God-given vision for ministry

Roadblocks to Native American Ministry

The challenge to bring Christ to a dispossessed and disillusioned people

View All Issue Contents

Digital delivery

If you're a print subscriber, we'll complement your print copy of Ministry with an electronic version.

Sign up
Advertisement - SermonView - Small Rect (180x150)

Recent issues

See All
Advertisement - SermonView - WideSkyscraper (160x600)