Tuesday, August 31, 2004
Our Native American ministry team has been to reservations all over the country, and we have some special memories from all of them. I'm thinking of one from Arizona and New Mexico, a time we were there. We're always very busy while we're there, but we did have one day off, so we all packed into a van to go see this spectacular canyon. It was approaching dark as we were returning, and we thought, "Let's see, there are two ways back, and we have to get up early tomorrow morning for a meeting." One way was long but it was paved, the other was short but it was unpaved across the mountain. We decided we'd take the short road, even though it was a little bumpy. I started driving, then my wife took over and all of a sudden we felt the van lurching. And she said, "Oh, no! I think we're out of gas. I can't believe it!" Well, someone had mentioned briefly that there was a problem with the fuel gauge before we left, so I glanced at it before we left town, and it said three quarters of a tank. It would have been a good idea to fill up before we left civilization, and as a result, here we sat in the dark because I didn't, on a lonely back road, forty miles from the nearest town and praying like crazy. Thank God, He sent us a Good Samaritan who went forty miles for gas. So Ron, did you learn anything?
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Leaving Without a Fill-Up."
Our word from the Word of God comes from Luke 24:47. God is preparing His people to get ready to do a job for Him. Here's what Jesus said to His disciples. "Repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. 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."
God has great things in store for you, and great things that He would like to accomplish for Him through your life. Imagine the disciples saying, "Well, let's get right to work." They're ready to run out the door and start doing, and He says, "Wait, stay. Wait for the power first." Maybe that's why many of us have flopped when we try to do something for the Lord. We ran off to do it before we got the power to do it, just like when I set off on that trip without filling up with fuel, and we've ended up stranded, haven't we?
Maybe you have had days like that spiritually, or while you've been trying to work for the Lord. Maybe you started off your day but were in too big a hurry to be with the Lord for very long. You didn't wait for His power, did you? Maybe you've been in a work for the Lord and you plunged right in, working hard to do it right; working hard to get it done. There was probably so much to do, but you ran out of gas right in the middle. It didn't work. Again, you didn't do what Jesus says here, "Stay and wait until you've been clothed with power from on high." Jesus likened it to getting dressed. He said, "Don't go out unclothed." Don't run out in your spiritual unmentionables to live for the Lord or to serve the Lord.
We have to take time to get "prayed up" before we start running for Jesus. The prayer meeting needs to precede any other meeting. We have to be in His book, looking for His personal guidance. We have to get on our knees or our face and re-surrender to Him for that day, for that work. We need to come to a point of seeing that we're unworthy and powerless when it comes to doing anything for Jesus, and then let His power take us over.
My reservation drive wasn't the first trip where I left without a fill-up. I've done that spiritually too many times. Maybe you have, too. Right now, would you slow down and pull over to God's great fuel tank. You're not going to finish your journey if you don't take time to fill up before you go.