This is my fuel gauge this morning. I’m not actually sure how far I can drive with the fuel light flashing, but I do seem to test it quite regularly…
Stupid, because I really don’t want to run out of fuel in the middle of a dusty nowhere or worse, a noisy junction… But there are some jobs that you just keep putting off until ‘there’s time to do them’.
It was what happened next that ‘winked at me’ though, (in the way that things do sometimes when God wants to tell me something through them). Although the little light had been flashing angrily at me all the way to school and back early this morning, when I got back into the car after leaving it for five minutes sitting on the driveway the needle was back up to nearly a quarter full and the accusing light had gone out again!
I know why of course – the driveway slopes. It happens all the time, the slight incline pushes fuel into the tank at the back of the car and gives a false reading. It looks like I have plenty of petrol to make it to pick up the girls and back, but probably I haven’t. Fortunately, on this occasion I’ve been paying attention, so I know that the truth is that I’m down to fumes and need to go to fill up.
What I feel like God has been saying to me today is that there are things in our life that can give us a ‘false reading’ about where we are in our relationship with Him. Ministry and busyness especially can keep the gauge reading high, when actually the tanks are running empty. How many of us have found ourselves running dry in the middle of serving the Lord? The answer of course can’t be to just give up being busy, or give up doing ministry (The church would suddenly become a lot less effective if we all did that!) But we perhaps need to accept that those things can leave us with a malfunctioning ‘fuel gauge’…
When I was a student I had a car which had a completely broken fuel gauge (amongst other complaints). Until it was fixed the only way to keep it running was to choose to top it up every other day! I wonder if for similar reasons that it’s necessary for us to keep coming back to Jesus for a top-up of his forgiveness, grace, love and Spirit as often as we can. I’ve sometimes rebelled against the ‘daily quiet time’ idea as it seemed like legalism, and although I don’t think the time of day matters and believe that some people hear God better outdoors, or indoors, or in a church, or in silence, or with music on… I have realised that finding a way and a time to meet with God EVERY SINGLE DAY, although it isn’t a rule, is just really sensible advice.
Great journeys are made of little steps.. So here are mine. Today on the way to pick up the girls from school I will leave the house early enough so that a) I can stop at the garage and get some fuel and b) I can sit in the park next to the school with my Bible for 20 minutes and chat to (and listen to) Jesus.
What about you?