Running On Empty
 "When the vessels were full....she said to her son,'Bring me another vessel,' and he said to her, 'There aren't any more!' And then the olive oil stopped flowing." 2 Kings 4:6........."The oil of God's Spirit flows according to the measure man has prepared for God." Watchman Nee

Questions: If all we do is to be done for the glory of God, how much time do we spend just bathing in that glory, in His Presence? If worship is to be a lifestyle, how prepared are we to live that life? As individuals, families, and fellowships, how prepared are we to receive all the "oil" of His fullness? Do we come before Him empty of self, or full? What's in, or not in, the vessels we bring before Him?

 
"Preparation is everything." That, or a phrase quite like it is commonly heard among people. Not a lot happens according to what some would call, "Dumb luck." Most people who excel have done so because they prepared to. This seems to be a trait in athletics, business, and chosen professions. I don't think it's a trait found very often in the western church. When we come to whatever we wish to call our church services these days, as well as to the living out of our day to day lives, how prepared are we to truly encounter the Spirit of the Lord there? I'm not saying we're not "prepared" to be there. Indeed, countless hours may have been spent in worship team and choir practice. Not to mention in teaching lessons, and certainly in the message from the platform. That kind of practical preparation may not be lacking, but how about our spiritual prep? From the one who arrives first to the service to the one who comes last, how prepared are they, we, to truly hear, receive from, and encounter the wonder that is Almighty God? This is a question for us whether we are walking through the doors of the church, or out of the door of our home.

We come to our gatherings in just about every kind of condition. We come filled with joy and praise, as well as brokenhearted and grieving. We come with many expectations, and in too many cases, no expectations. We seem to be able and willing to come in most every kind of condition except that which is most needed. That's the condition of emptiness. Empty of self. Self reliance, self congratulation, and maybe worst of all, self satisfaction. We may come with a great deal of realized need, but with a full load of resentment, anger, bitterness, hopelessness, and despair. We can be so full of both "good" and "bad" things that there's no room at all for He who is the One thing. In the world, running on empty carries a negative meaning. It says we lack strength, endurance, and are in a deep state of need. Self reliance seeks to find a way to reverse it all. Christ reliance seeks the fullness, filling and refilling only He can give. And He loves to pour His fullness into every area of our lives. As I have it in my prayer journal, "We keep on being empty so that we can keep on being full." The only limit on His filling us with His Life is the room we have for it in our hearts and spirits. This is where our role in the preparation comes in. We surrender all, and in return we receive His all. All of Him in all of our lives. Whether we be pastor, teacher, singer, or attender, how much of this "preparation" will actually go into our next gathering for what we might call worship? Indeed, how much of this preparation will go into how we step out into the chaos of the world we live in? Worship is a lifestyle, not a scheduled event.

I read somewhere recently that most of us tend to live like reservoirs, depending on the oil we can store up. What God desires is that we live like channels. Channels that receive the constant inflow of His Life and Spirit, and in return, give back to Him the glory due His name, and the oil of the Spirit that a starving world so desperately needs. Then a great impossibility takes place. We run on empty, but we are never found empty. We are prepared to be made full, and we are made full.... We all run. On what are we running right now? The fullness of self, or the fullness of Him?

Blessings,
Pastor O

 

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