Most people are familiar with the western proverb that asks the question, “Is the glass half-full or half-empty?” The point is that the substance is at the halfway mark and how we see it is determined by how we see life. The pessimist—someone with a negative outlook—sees the glass as half-empty; whereas the optimist—someone with a positive mindset—sees the glass as half full. I’ve always chuckled at the question though, because I see a third alternative: it seems that how I view the glass depends on how thirsty I am—ha ha!

A different perspective

The other day, I read about a speaker who presented an entirely new and interesting angle on the glass. As they held a glass of water, they asked the audience how much water was in the glass. After getting a variety of answers, they made the point that no matter how much water it holds, what matters most is how long you hold the glass. Truthfully, even a lightweight, if held for a long time, becomes unbearably heavy; the lesson was that we should think about what were holding on to.

What’s important, the water or the glass?

As I reflected on the above speaker’s twist on the glass proverb, I thought of some other object lessons that it could be used for. For instance, maybe we should consider the shape of the glass; after all, like people, not all glasses are the same. Some are made to carry more, and some less; some are more suited for specific purposes; and some will tip over or spill their contents more easily. This definitely seems to be true of people too, so maybe the lesson could be, “Let’s not just focus on the water, but the glass, too.”

People, like all the various types of glasses in the world, are all unique. We all have different temperaments, experiences, needs, and wants. And yet in so many ways, also like the glasses, we are all very similar. Although we may fulfill the task at hand somewhat differently, the Creator made us all for a purpose, which is to have a personal relationship with Him.

Of course, there are many object lessons that can be learned from the example of the glass. So the next time you find yourself asking, “Is the glass half full or empty?” you should consider whether or not you are even asking the right question.