In the course of working with our “On Eagles’ Wings” outreach teams, I have done a lot of driving across the Indian reservations of America. And some of them, like the Navajo Reservation, for example, have long stretches where you see only a handful of people or houses. If I follow my usual custom of waiting to get gas until I’m running low, I’m in big trouble. One night several years ago I was driving a borrowed station wagon which had a fuel gauge that was stuck on ¾ of a tank – except I didn’t know that. We struck out across the Navajo Reservation and ended up out of gas literally in the middle of nowhere. People who drive the reservation know there is a basic survival rule – take time to fill up with gas before you start your trip!
Well, I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I'd like to have A WORD WITH YOU today about “Filling Up Before You Take Off”.
When you’ve got a long drive ahead, it’s tempting to say, “Hey, listen, I don’t have time to stop for gas right now!” That’s not very smart. That’s when you need to take time to fill up.
As we head into our word for today from the Word of God, Jesus’ disciples have a huge journey ahead of them. Jesus is sending them out to get His Good News to the entire world! Talk about having a long way to go! But we have a lot to learn about what Jesus told them to do before they started on this very long spiritual journey. It’s in Luke 24:47.
“Repentance and forgiveness of sins (Jesus said) will be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” There’s the monumental task they have ahead of them. Now here’s what Jesus wants them to do first. “I am going to send you what My Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” I’m sure they felt, “If we have all this to do, we had better get started right now!” But Jesus is saying basically, “I’m giving you a huge responsibility – but I want you to wait to get started.” In short - “Wait before you work.” For what? “Power from on high.”
In a companion account in Acts 1:4, Jesus says, “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift My Father promised . . . You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you; and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem (that’s the place where you are), and in all Judea and Samaria (that’s places you don’t particularly want to go) , and to the ends of the earth (that is places you never dreamed you’d go).”
The Master’s orders are clear. No matter how long the journey ahead is, take time to fill up before you get started. Or, no matter how much you’ve got to do, take time to tap into God’s power before you do anything. Wait before you work.
But that’s not how we busy folks usually do it. The more we’ve got to do, the more likely we are to push our time with Jesus right out of that day’s schedule. We go running off into the rat race without a spiritual fillup and we often run out of gas. So we’re not filled with the Holy Spirit as we tackle our long deadlines and responsibilities – we’re filled with our “to do” list, with our stress, with worry, or with ourselves. When we need the power of God the most, we go running off without it. I know – I’ve done it too many times.
Let’s listen to our Lord’s orders – to take time with Him before we spend time on anything else. To wait before the Lord for a special touch from Him . . . to tap into His unlimited power before we tackle our unending responsibilities. Wait on Him before you work for Him. When you’ve got a long trip ahead, take time to fill your tank first – with heaven’s high octane fuel!
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