How many of you know that you cannot run on empty very long? Have you ever ran out of gas in your car? You hear the warning signal; you notice the red gas light; yet, you continue to push your luck until it’s too late. You’re stranded. There’s nothing you can do. Whether you drive a Porsche or Pinto, an empty car simply will not function.
It’s the same for our spiritual life. It’s one reason why church attendance is so important. Consider church your filling station. We need the word poured into our lives to propel us into the world we face throughout the week. Attending a church service isn’t enough, however. Just as your car requires other maintenance in addition to gas in the tank, to live a fulfilled Christian life, requires time in prayer, study, and devotion to God on a daily basis. The better the upkeep of maintenance, the better the results.
Pastors have a difficult time finding a working filling station. We were traveling to New Mexico to my husband’s aunt’s funeral. We stopped in Amarillo for the night. The next day we found ourselves about 40 miles outside of Amarillo and realized our gas gauge was near empty. Now, there isn’t much in the way of stops out West on that stretch of road. I typed “gas stations near me” into my phone, and just 14 miles up the road showed a Phillips 66 station on the old route 66. Thankful, we took the next exit, and to our dismay the antique station appeared to have closed in ’66. We drove to the overpass just before the on ramp, and thank the Lord, there was an open filling station on the opposite side of the road. We gassed up, used the facilities, and I told the lady at the register we sure were thankful to find a station in the middle of nowhere. She responded, “We’d like to think that we’re halfway to somewhere.”
We religiously checked our gas gauge at every stop after that scare. On our way home, we were caught in a snowstorm. Traffic was crawling at less than 10 miles an hour for ages. Thankfully we had gas. Nearing Amarillo, we decided to exit to use the restroom at “our” filling station. It was closed. I’ll never know if the workers just couldn’t come in for work due to the snow, or if perhaps the Lord provided the station just for us on our coming trip. I like to think of God’s provision in that moment! That lady behind the register very well may have been an angel. It sure taught us a lesson to keep our tanks full.
Spiritually, I filled my tank last week at a pastor’s conference. I gave myself a mental peptalk: try to receive; have an open mind; let God speak to you. So often, I’m so preoccupied with others and doing my “job” that I neglect to hear the Lord for myself.
One thing really spoke to me above all else I heard last week. I want to see like God sees. The preacher said, “Remove the filters from your eyes with which you view yourself, your church, and your ministry. Leave the filters at the door. All the things from your past that jade the way you see reality. Lay them down, and see through the eyes of God.” Wow!
He also said, “God is not concerned with the past. God is a God of the future. God wants you to live NOW, so you can see to walk through the doors he has opened for you.”
Sometimes we get so caught up on the regrets and pains of our past that we miss the glories and mercies we are experiencing right now. We are living today. Life today cannot look like life did yesterday. It’s literally unfair to today when you dwell on the past. It’s time to refuel. Learn from those empty experiences, gas up, and move forward.