Running on empty is not a good thing.
Years ago when I was single, I was driving in town and all of the sudden my car sputtered, coughed, and then STOPPED.
I know nothing about cars, so I had no idea what the problem could be, but I assumed I had engine trouble.
I was teaching at a Christian school far away from my parents, so I called my pastor and told him my car was dead and I needed help. He came to my rescue and the first question he asked was,
“Do you have gas in your tank?”
“Oh yes, I have gas,” I replied.
My dad always said he doesn’t feel sorry for anyone who runs out of gas because you can see if you need to fill up! I tried to live by the good principle of keeping the tank full, and was sure that I hadn’t stooped to this negligent nature of not watching how empty my tank really was!
So, after my pastor did all the checking he could on the engine, he decided to look at the gas tank level. It was on empty. I can still remember the embarrassment I felt. No matter how much I said the tank had gas, the truth was eventually revealed.
Empty is never good. Think about it…
- Empty cupboards
- Empty house
- Empty wallet
- Empty life
- Empty words
Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness:
but a faithful man who can find?
Proclaiming our own goodness is using empty words. They come from the person who says they’re full, but they’re running on empty.
- I go to church.
- But their life is their own the rest of the week.
- I’m a good person.
- But they fail to realize that all are sinners in need of a Savior.
- I’m better than _______.
- They compare themselves to others instead of God’s standard.
- I’m a Christian.
- But they live their life as they please.
- There’s little desire to grow, to be in God’s Word, or to talk to God in a relational way.
- In a trial they fall apart.
- In difficulty they are weak because they are far from God and they operate in their own strength and get what they can do, rather than what God wants to do.
- They look just like an unbeliever in their lifestyle, their activities, conversations and desires.
If we’re honest, we all run on “empty” from time to time. The encouragement here in this Proverb is not to say you’re full, when you’re really not. We must be honest and admit the need. When we confess the need we call it what God calls it – this is repenting and turning from our own way. Then we open our arms and embrace God’s way instead. We allow Him to fill us and enable us to be faithful. You can keep your “tank” filled by reading His Word and talking with Him. Keep short accounts of your sin. Obey whatever He tells you to do. Your heart will be filled with His joy and His life!
Let’s not be like foolish I was, running on empty and thinking I could boast about being full. Let’s admit our emptiness and allow the Lord to sweetly come to our rescue!
The emptiness you feel can only be met in Christ. If He is already your Savior, tell Him your need and your heart’s longing. He promises to fill us with His presence and peace. If you’ve never trusted in Him to be your Savior for your sin, tell Him you want to have a relationship with Him, that you know you’re a sinner and need Him to save you.
Rather than boasting while on empty, let’s stay faithful and full!
During a recent text message with my daughter Whitney, she shared with me about the blessing her small group leaders are to her and her husband. She said to me,
“They invited us over for dinner Friday night and we had a really great time!
I replied by saying,
I like these people!
That this dear couple would invest in the lives of my family means so much! Because they extended that kindness to Paul and Whitney, it was like they had done it for me! If you’re a parent, you understand that when someone reaches out in kindness to your child in a special way, it’s as though they were doing it directly to you, because it touches your heart.
Let’s put that thought on a spiritual plane – when you and I serve our Savior by living out the Christian life in practical ways, God says it’s as though we have done it to Him.
For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
That could include:
- Sharing a meal with others in your home
- Spending time mentoring a younger woman
- Opening God’s Word to encourage and teach
- Dong a kind deed like serving the elderly, visiting the sick, or writing a card, providing for the poor.
These deeds don’t save us, but they show the world that we belong to God. When we do any of these kinds of things in the name of Christ, God says it’s as though we are doing it directly for Him!
So, who will you reach out to today or this week? Ask God to show you who and how and then do it in Jesus’ name. His Father’s heart will be touched by your actions.
What action has someone extended to your child that meant much to you?
What action could you do that will touch the heart of God?
My husband and I have been arguing again. You know how that goes. It’s over a topic we’ve discussed before – serving one another. The conversation went something like this:
Me – Let me do that for you.
Him – No, I already took care of it, but thank you.
Me – I can never seem to find a way to serve you: you always beat me to it! You do so much more for me than I do you.
Him – Hon, that’s not true! You do so much for me. Goodness, I couldn’t do what I do on a day without you!
Wow. I love being a hostess and having people in my home! It’s just a blessing to throw open the door and invite them in. I love sharing what I have cooked or baked. It’s also fun to just share a steaming cup of coffee in ceramic mugs. It’s fun setting out my pretty dishes, linen napkins and basket full of silverware so everyone can help themselves to a casual buffet-style meal. I also love setting the table for a sit-down brunch or dinner. Either way, bowls full of steaming hot foods are shared while the conversation pours out easier than the full pitcher of tea.
Southerners are typically noted for entertaining. We have books written on the subject and even magazines overflowing with recipes and tips for success, but for a follower of Christ, if one ingredient is missing we will have served that food in vain. As a child of the Lord Jesus Christ, we must share the Gospel. It must be as natural a part of our conversation as adding the bananas to the Banana Pudding. Oh yes, it’s that important. Let me share why.
First, our home is really the easiest place in which to share the Gospel – the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. We’re on our own comfortable turf. We have control over the conversation topic and we can steer that subject matter in a causal way to the Theme of Themes.
Secondly, the Gospel should flow from a believer’s heart in a way that serves others. Because Christ served in humility by dying on the cross, we learn to serve others by sharing with them the Truth that will do far more for them than our fried chicken or Coconut Cake.
Lastly, our ultimate goal in opening our home must come from a heart that desires to bring every person who walks in our door to an understanding that Christ loves them and offers eternal life through a relationship with Him. The conversation may be brief, but it should be even more important than making sure everyone’s glasses stay full.
How to do that?
- Look for an opportunity to share your own testimony of how you were saved.
- Ask gentle questions .
- How do you see God at work in your life right now?
- Do you have any spiritual beliefs?
- Do you believe in a heaven and hell?
- How do you think a person goes to heaven?
- Share with your guests something the Lord has taught you in His Word.
- Open the door for them to return to do a Bible study with you.
This conversation should be as natural as you offering another biscuit. Make it part of the table talk as you’re enjoying dessert and coffee. The more we do it, the easier it will become.
Even if your guests are all believers, share the Word together. Ask what God is teaching them, what burdens they are bearing and how you can pray for them, then do it before they leave your home.
I’ve failed miserably at this over the years, but the Lord has been awakening in my heart the need to serve the Gospel each time my doors open to a guest. It’s the most important Theme of any social gathering in my kitchen and I pray it is in yours, too.
How do you share the Gospel in your home?
Years ago one of my girls sent me a text message from their college dorm room. It read –
“I’m so ready to be done with dorm life! Someone is singing at the top of their lungs in the shower!”
Not everyone is a morning person who can sing first thing in the morning. Though I’d consider myself a morning person, I need about an hour of quiet before I’m ready for sounds above a whisper. However, whoever the girl in the shower was, she had a song in her heart first thing in the morning!
Proverbs 29:6 says,
“In the transgression of an evil man there is a snare:
but the righteous doth sing and rejoice.”
The implication of that verse is that if there is sin in our hearts we will lose our song. Because we’re caught in the snare of our transgression, there’s no reason to rejoice. Is there a song in your heart at this moment? Do people irritate you quickly? Is there a nagging restlessness within you? I’m not asking if you’re a morning person, I’m talking about the majority of the day – are you singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord?
Obviously if a person hasn’t asked Christ to be their Savior, there’s still a void in their life and there’s no song. But if you’re God’s child because you’ve received Christ, there should be singing and rejoicing. Even in the midst of trials the song is there. It’s quiet, but it’s there.
If you’re song is gone, look for the reason. Sin is probably at the door. Confess it. Call it what God calls it. Don’t smooth it over. God knows what it is, so name it.
Was it worry?
Repent of it and know the joy that comes from having it out of your heart, and then replaced by the sweet song of the redeemed!
When my husband and I were dating, we lived several hours apart and the loneliness for him was prevalent every day! But then an occasional weekend would come up that would allow him to be able to travel home to visit with me for a day and half, and my heart would literally be in my throat as I waited and watched for his Chevy Impala to come barreling down the lane to my home!
I kept my eyes peeled out the window, but only after I had prepared myself to greet him. I made sure I was cleaned up and ready for his arrival. I also straightened up the living room for his visit. I knew he was on his way, and I had to have everything ready!
Because of my faith in Jesus Christ, I have a promise that Christ is coming again to take His children to heaven. Christ made the promise the He would return again. We’re waiting for the shout, the voice and the trump of God. We also know that no one knows when He will return. He is coming like a thief in the night. So what does that mean for us as His followers? It means we must be ready. We won’t have time when He comes to go get ourselves clean and fit to meet Him.
I heard a story this week that I’ll share not word for word, but you’ll get the point. There was a family who learned that their son was coming home. He’d been gone a long time and the family was anxiously expecting his return. But on the day of his arrival, the family was found squabbling and fighting. It seems that they were having a disagreement about how the son was coming – one said by plane, another by train, and someone else said he was bringing others with him. When he returned, he found them in this quarreling state. Is that how we want the Lord to find us when He comes? Will all our trivialities really matter on that Day? I hardly think so.
So, how will He find us if He were to come in fifteen minutes?
- Will we have clean hearts?
- Will we be doing His work at that moment?
- Will we have others that are going to heaven with us because we shared the Gospel with them?
- Will we be happy to see Him?
- Will we be squabbling over the things that others are doing that we don’t like?
- Will we have bitter spirits?
- Will we hang our heads because we got busy doing Satan’s work instead of Christ’s?
I John 3:2,3 says,
Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.
And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.
Just like I got cleaned up when I knew my boyfriend was going to be coming, if we have the assurance of salvation, God’s Word says we’ll be making sure we’re clean. Not because we’re afraid we won’t go to heaven, but because we ARE His child and we know He’s on His way! We don’t want to be ashamed at His coming.
Friend, are you indeed God’s child? Have you taken Christ as your Savior because you realize you are a sinner separated from a holy God? All you need to do is receive the gift of eternal life through the person of Christ. Tell Him you know you’re a sinner and that you want to receive His gift of salvation that He purchased through His death, on the cross.
Are you looking for Christ to return today? He could come…oh I pray He will come today!
Will I be ready and clean? Will you?