FILL THE TANK

Hungry and thirsty, they nearly died. “Lord, help!” they cried in their trouble, and he rescued them from their distress. … Let them praise the Lord for his great love and for the wonderful things he has done for them. For he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things. [Psalm 107:5-6,8-9 (NLT)]

butterfly-chicago botanic gardenMy father had what’s often described as a Type-A personality. An impatient “workaholic,” he always took on more than he could handle. Life, for him, was one crucial task after another, none of which someone else could do, at least not correctly. Always in a hurry, he never wanted to stop for anything, even when his gas gauge read precariously close to empty. Something more pressing always took precedence over a brief stop for gas. As a result, his car was often left on the roadside while he trudged off with a gas can to find the nearest service station. Instead of saving time, his refusal to stop cost him time. Living that way actually cost him more than just time—he died of a massive coronary at the age of fifty-six. It’s often been said that your in-box will still be full when you die and, indeed, his was. None of us can accomplish everything on our to-do list and we may well destroy both our relationships and ourselves while trying.

Rest assured, after spending hours stranded on country roads waiting for my father to return with a can of gasoline, my gas tank is never less than a quarter full. Unfortunately, I’m not nearly as good about refueling when it comes to God. We don’t have to be Type-A for our spiritual tanks to get dangerously close to empty. No matter how much we try to simplify the holidays, the next several weeks will be hectic. As our to-do lists grow longer, the number of days remaining will only grow shorter.

When our cars need fuel, unlike my father, most of us will stop at a gas station. But what do we do when we’re running on empty spiritually? What do we do when our supply of patience, joy or self-control runs perilously low? Often, we just keep going instead of recognizing the need to stop and refuel with God. Of course, a wiser choice would be to keep topping off our tanks with daily prayer and meditation so our power source never runs low!

Heavenly Father, sometimes we let our busyness keep us from spending time with you and our spiritual tank empties of qualities like peace, love, and kindness. Help us accept that we can’t do it all and that there will always be another task waiting right around the corner. Guide our priorities, Lord; remind us that you are all we really need. Lead us to that peaceful place of your presence, refresh and renew us, and let your Holy Spirit fill us up again.

No one ever said at the end of his days, “I have read my Bible too much, I have thought of God too much, I have prayed too much, I have been too careful with my soul.” [J.C. Ryle]

The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name. [Psalm 23:1-3 (NLT)]

I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. [Romans 15:13 (NLT)]