I really hate running out of stuff. I don't like running out of ketchup, or milk, or clean underwear, or bread, or toilet paper, or battery life on my ipod, or ink for the printer, or paper, or dental floss...
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This is the season for the outdoor grill. And I hate to run out of propane, so I like to keep a spare tank around (currently the spare is empty too). But nothing kills the good vibes of a cookout more than getting the sirloin patties on the grill, and your flame turns to a flicker because there is no fuel (rare beef anyone) in the tank. Some newer, fancy grills even have a little gauge to let you know when it's getting low. Helpful? It should be, but most of us still try to anticipate how much longer we have AFTER it gets on "E". This is the same thing we do with the fuel gauge in the car, right? We have a gauge to tell us when the gas is about to run out. But a gauge isn't enough, so they started adding the display light that glows "Fuel" or "Low Fuel" or "Pull over you Idiot." But that apparently wasn't enough for us either. So now there is, on most vehicles a gauge, a light and a peep. (Ironically we don't even pay attention to the gauge anymore; we just wait for the light or the peep). Still all of these warnings are not enough. So some cars even have an information system that will tell you how many more miles (down to the 1/10 of a mile) you can go before you are completely stranded. It is strange, no one likes to run out of gas, but we can't help but push the limit to see how far we can go before we have to put the flashers on and hike up the hill with a gas can in hand.
I think it might be good if we had a spiritual fuel gauge, don't you? An objective instrument that would tell us when we were getting close to "E". And even better, an instrument panel that could warn us as to exactly how much longer we had before we would be completely drained. Maybe this instrument panel (located in your belly button or something) could then ask us tough questions like, how many more worship services are you going to skip? How many more days are you going to go without reading God's word? When are going to take some time for quiet prayer? How long do you think you can go without Christian fellowship? When are you going to take a break? This would be the equivalent of telling us its time to fill up. That would be pretty cool to have that kind of spiritual gauge. But then, with our history, would we listen?
"Father, some of us have tanks that just need to be topped off. Others of us are spiritually on "E." Help us over this summer to find the filling station. Guide us to times and places of recreation and rest, reflection and worship. We want to see the needle move toward "FULL." In Jesus name, Amen.