Alright, I know this imagery is pretty well known and written about, but once it happens to you, you a reminder is always helpful.
Running out of Gas
My gas light had been flashing at me for the whole day. That night I saw I was below empty and gave myself a reminder that I needed to fill up the tank the next morning, but it really wasn’t a problem because my gas gauge had been down that far before and I knew I had about 30 more miles before I would truly be empty. The next morning however it had all slipped my mind and I did nothing all day. The truth was I never even noticed my gas light was flashing at me. Why would I notice it? I had seen it a million times and never run out of gas. I was fine! It was about 5:30 in the ‘Prevening’ as Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory has coined the term, and I was delivering dinner to a couple in our church who both just had surgery. The woman met me in the driveway so I left the car running and met her with the food. She invited me inside so I went. We talked for several minutes and then said goodbye. Returning to my car I remarked to myself that the engine seemed pretty quiet. I got inside, the air conditioner was still running and the radio was on. I buckled up, put the car in gear, pressed the gas peddle and… nothing. My car wouldn’t move. I had run out of gas! Never in my life had I run out of gas. Not even in college when I was notorious for driving on an empty tank. So what was I going to do? I sat there with my seat belt on saying to myself, ‘Well I guess I will call my wife and have her bring the gas can.’ I knew however that this would be difficult as dinner was literally being put on the table and she would have three kids to get into the car. Then I thought, maybe the parishioner has a gas can with a bit of gas for his yard work. I went and asked and luckily they did have gas. I put about a quarter gallon in and drove straight to the nearest gas station. When I got there, the atm/credit card machines were down and they were only accepting cash for gas. I HAD NO CASH! I prayed my little amount of gas would get me to the next station and by God’s grace it did. I filled my tank, went home and told my family all about it.
The God thing about running out of gas is two fold. First happening at the home of someone who had both a Gas can and gas in the can. God seems to be taking care of me this way lately, thank you very much! Second, it happened the evening before I was leaving for the day to go to a one day retreat with other pastors and church leaders to refresh and rejuvenate ourselves. I realized that I had been running on empty for quite some time and if I did not get away to fill my spiritual tank I would have nothing left for the church, my family and spiritually run out of Gas myself. Thank God this one day retreat was the pit stop I needed to be refreshed and encouraged to run the race of ministry for which I had been called. Isaiah 40:31 tells us, ‘But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint’ Paul continues this line of thought when he writes in Philippians 3:13-14, ‘Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.’
I encourage you as a follower of Jesus to not let your tank run out of gas, but take time to rest in the lord, renew your strength and continue to press on toward the prize.