Christian Mentorship

A Modern Day Parable: The Cup & The Funnel

What will you do with what your mentors invest in you?

j taliaferro
3 min readJul 7, 2021


Photo by Mihail Macri on Unsplash

Once upon a time, there was a kindly father who gave his son a task. The task had a particular purpose. One that could not be understood without doing. The father gave the boy the job of filling all of the water storage jars for the coming dry season.

At first, the boy went to the cistern that had been filled throughout the rainy season. He dipped a cup into the water, and he took it to the storage container, and he poured the little bit of water into the jar. After more than a dozen trips, the boy knew that the dry season would come and go, and he would still not be finished with the task his father had given him.

So, he decided to devise a new plan, instead of using a cup, he would fill two big buckets and use them to ferry the water to the containers. Upon arriving at the root cellar, he began trying to pour the water from the buckets into the storage jars. But the openings to the jars were too small, and the buckets were too heavy. So much of the water sloshed out onto the ground wastefully.

The boy sat down, discouraged in the dark, damp root cellar. He was trying to think of how he could please his father and complete the task he had been given. When out of the corner of his eyes, he saw something shiny, he looked and found an old funnel his mother had used for canning.

He cleaned it up and put it in the small opening of the storage jar. Then he gathered water from the cistern in his trusty buckets and filled all of the storage containers in only one afternoon. There was no wasted water, and they were prepared for the dry season. The boy learned the lesson his father had intended, be efficient, and don’t waste your energy using the wrong tools.

Mentors are givers by nature. They want to pass on the wisdom that they have received. They want to see you grow into the person you were meant to be. But these days, too many apprentices have become takers. They receive, but they do not pass on. That’s why I say, “Be a funnel, not a cup.”

Funnels receive the benefit of mentorship. They appreciate the wisdom, counsel, and experience that they have been…



j taliaferro

Storyteller, Author & Disciple of Jesus Christ. Lover of family, sushi & world travel. I hate cotton candy, bats and the Kansas City Chiefs.