Pastor Scott Hannon
St. John Lutheran Church Amherst, NY
I noticed the gas gauge was low when I got in my car the other morning. I win in a hurry. I had a million things to do in a very short window of time. So, I figured I’d roll the dice and see how far I could go before stopping to fuel up.
In between stops two and three the gas light came on. The orange light blared on the dash reminding me I had to stop and get fuel. I pressed on. One more stop, I thought. And then, one more. One more. I drove with stress, hurry and panic. I mentally ran through what I would do if I ran out of fuel. I purposely stayed in the right lane in case the car shut off. At one point I started to get frustrated with myself – I needed fuel, I couldn’t find a gas station, and I was irritated that I hadn’t fueled up when I had the chance.
The ending to this story is rather anticlimactic. I made it home okay. I got fuel. Everything was fine. Except this: I spent most of my morning totally stressed out. I was hurried and panicked. I was frustrated and annoyed. And all because I didn’t take a few minutes to refuel.
I read an article on cars recently that suggested consistently letting your fuel run low is bad for the engine. (Disclaimer: I know nothing about cars.) Apparently, there’s something about running low on gas that isn’t good for the parts. Now, I have no idea whether or not this is actually true for cars, but I do believe it is true for people.
We are not meant to run on empty.
Running on empty is not good for our parts. It’s not good for our hearts. It’s not good for our emotions. It’s not good for our brain or our body. It’s not good for our relationships. It’s not good for our mental health. It’s not good for our spiritual lives. Rather, we need to refuel frequently and intentionally.
We’re entering into a season in which many of us will be caught running on empty. We will go, go, go, always seeking one more stop before we stop to refuel. My guess is at the end of the season our stories will end as anticlimactically as mine did above. We will make it. You will survive. Nevertheless, we have to ask ourselves, is making it enough? Or do we want to find ourselves blessed, nourished, strengthened and assured even while we’re on the road?
Take time to refuel this holiday season (and beyond). Don’t start your day running on empty. Find time to pray, read scripture, have fun, talk with friends, connect with family, meditate and breathe. Come to church. Call old friends. Play. Do nothing.
In scripture Jesus talks about abiding. The word he uses carries with it a connotation of rest. This Christmastime may you find yourself at rest with Christ who dwells with us. May you experience peace and nourishment. May you find your tank filled by your God who longs to bless you.
You are not meant to run on empty. It’s not good for the parts.
For more inspiration and insights from Pastor Scott and Pastor Shawn’s past columns, please visit www.jamestowngazette.com and click on the Faith Matters page. The Jamestown Gazette is proud to present our county’s most creative and original writers for your enjoyment and enlightenment.