Summary: A sermon for duck-hunting season when we had several hunters visiting us, most Christian, some not.

Cupped & Committed

April 9, 2006

Scripture: Mark 8:34

He called the crowd and his disciples to himself and said to them, ‘If anyone wants to follow me, let them deny themselves, and take up their cross, and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake and for the gospel will save it. What good is it if they gain the whole world yet lose their own soul?

Jesus is calling for a very sharp, well-defined, intentional commitment to become a follower.

What Jesus is calling for, in waterfowling terms is for us to be “cupped and committed.”

Listen to what a few hunters and advertisers have said about the experience:

“There’s nothing like seeing them cupped and committed.”

“Keep ‘em cupped and committed.”

“Could you say that those birds were cupped and committed — Dek — Gooster, they were indeed cupped and committed ... and we creamed them!”

“If dozens of bluebills zipping through decoys get your blood pumping, or if a pair of mallards on the wing cupped and committed does something for your adrenalin, then give us a call and reserve your date for the upcoming season.”

“Create your own quality habitat and the birds will come, cupped and committed.”

And finally ...

“Anyone who has ever experienced the whistling wings of ducks cupped and committed to land in your hole understands waterfowling. Waterfowl hunters are serious people. They are serious about the equipment, their dogs, where they hunt, and managing the resource.”

Today we’re going to have kind of an object lesson about being cupped and committed. About having an intentional, clearly defined commitment to landing with our feet firmly planted on the Solid Rock.

Jesus said, “If anyone wants to follow me, let them deny themselves, take up their cross and follow me.”

Now I’m not even going to pretend to you that I know anything about duck hunting.

I simply saw a strange design on the back of a truck one day when I was out with friends who happen to be duck-hunters. They said the design was of ducks, “cupped and committed” and I said that sounded like the title of a good sermon.

So today, since we have several duck hunters with us, and because it’s the season, I thought maybe we could have something a little different for the hunters in the congregation. Welcome!

You know, you’ll be out in the field tomorrow and someone will ask you what the pastor spoke on on Sunday and you’ll say, “Being cupped and committed.” Has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it!

I looked up “cupped” in Webster’s dictionary. Cupped means ‘taking the shape of a cup, hollowed.’

And ‘hollowed’ means there is nothing there.

What’s not supposed to be there when we are cupped and committed as Christians? Self. Jesus said, “Deny yourself.”

So that’s the first thing we have to do if we’re going to be followers of Jesus.

Once that bird cups its wings, it’s headed for the hole - it’s given up any other flight path that may look more enticing - it has denied itself any other possibility and it’s heading for that one spot.

Jesus calls us to be cupped - hollowed out, empty vessels, everything else gone. All other ideas of our own flight path, set aside, and going in - headed for Christ, and Christ alone.

Now that sounds pretty much like being committed doesn’t it? Two sides of the same coin.

I looked up committed in the dictionary. It means to hand over, or set apart to some purpose, - to give in charge or trust - to bind as by a promise or pledge.

Those ducks, when they cup their wings, they’re committed to land.

Jesus calls us not only to be cupped - to be hollowed out from our own selfishness, but we are to be committed to a purpose. To His purpose. To have our trust in Him. Cupped and Committed.

Hollowed out from our selfishness and set apart for his purpose only.

Now here’s my question: have you made that commitment?

Have you decided that whatever the obstacles, or whatever the difficulties, Jesus is who you will live for?

You see, once the bird is cupped and committed, it doesn’t matter what comes its way, it’s going in.

The great problem that most of us face is not that we will renounce our faith, but rather that we’ll settle for a mediocre, un-committed version of it.

I want to tell you three things I’ve discovered when I was researching this whole idea of cupped and committed.

Here they are:

1. It’s easier to shoot them when they’re cupped and committed. (Repeat)

That applies to you when you’re cupped and committed for Jesus Christ. Do you know why? Because you’re out there on the battle field doing service for Jesus. You’re easier to shoot at because you’re IN the world, but you’re not OF it.

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