Wednesday, March 28, 2012
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"Dad, you're on E!" Yeah, I heard that a lot from my kids for years as we drove along, as if I didn't know the fuel gauge was nearing the empty mark. Of course, I knew. But why stop any sooner than you have to, right? I did create too much stress in the process for me, and my wife, and for my kids who were leaning over the back seat, and sometimes I actually did flirt with an empty tank. And I guess they all still remembered and reminded me of the time that we sputtered to a stop along the New York throughway out of gas. Yeah, I pushed it a little too far.
Actually, don't tell my family that I admitted this, but it really isn't very smart to run on empty. In fact, it actually saves time to stop.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Running On Empty."
Now, our word for today from the Word of God comes from Luke 10 and begins at verse 38. There are few passages in the Bible that have had more of a recurring, convicting effect on my life than this one. Every time I come around to it, it hits me between the eyes, and it happened again recently.
Here we go, "As Jesus and His disciples were on their way, He came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to Him. She had a sister called Mary who sat at the Lord's feet, listening to what He said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to Him and asked, 'Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me.' 'Martha, Martha' the Lord answered." Sometimes I think He's saying, "Ron, Ron." "Jesus answered, 'You are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken away from her.'"
Well, here's Martha, miserable in the presence of Jesus. She's got Jesus in her home, and she's...well, as it says, "distracted by all the preparation." In the original Greek that word distracted means pulled or dragged away. She's pulled or dragged away by all the work she had to do. And the Master shows us which one is more important. It's "Mary, sitting at My feet listening." He said that's what's needed; that's what's better. He basically says, "Martha, more important to Me than the tasks you're doing is our time together."
That's a sobering warning in this story. Work for Jesus can actually pull you away from your time with Jesus. Now, if all your discretionary time is used in His work, oh you feel pretty spiritual, but Christian busyness can actually cover up a growing distance between you and the Lord and your empty soul - an empty tank. I'm supposed to be busy building His Kingdom, but that's second. First is time listening to Him; letting Him fill my tank with love for Him. Then my list of Jesus' tasks comes from a heart full of Jesus' love and listening to Him.
When you're listening, you're making sure that you're busy doing what He wants to do through you, not what you want to do for Him. Jesus says, "Sit at My feet before you start running around on yours." When I'm rushing to get places, I don't want to stop for a fill-up. But the result is stress and sometimes eventually going nowhere.
Could it be you've gotten so caught up in running for Jesus that you're running on empty? Stop for a fill-up every morning. You'll enjoy the drive a lot more. Oh, and the people who ride with you; they'll enjoy you a lot more.