Filling the Tank at Christmas.
Motoring down the road, windows open, radio blaring, Steve smiled as he wound through the beautiful countryside. All was bliss until the car sputtered, jerked, and then stalled. In disbelief, he peered down at the gas gauge… it read “Below E.”
He was stuck, in the middle of nowhere. He glanced at his cellphone. No signal. It would take a miracle for him to get out of this mess.
Steve sat by his lifeless car for what seemed to be hours. He was afraid to leave the car lest someone come, and he wasn’t there. Besides, he wasn’t sure which direction in which to walk. He had passed a service station over 30 minutes ago, but that would take hours to cover on foot. He guessed that continuing forward might take him even longer.
It was then, just as his hope of help was waning that he saw the glimmer, a radiant reflection of sunlight off the chrome of an approaching car. It was coming from straight ahead. As he pulled his car alongside Steve’s the young occupant rolled down his window and asked, “You need some help?” Steve’s swiftly replied, “I’m out of gas and need just enough to get to the nearest station.”
The young man hopped out of his car, popped the trunk and took out a gas can. After emptying it into Steve’s tank, the young man said, “Follow me. I know where there’s a gas station close by. You won’t see it if you keep going in the direction you’re headed.”
Steve followed the young man, and sure enough, in short order they were at a gas station. Steve pulled in as the young man waived good-bye and drove off. Looking at the pumps, Steve noticed that there were no credit card readers on them. So he went in to the cashier, handed him his credit card and told the greying attendant that he wanted to fill his tank. The attendant turned on the pumps and told him that he would settle-up with him once the tanks were filled.
After filling the tanks, Steve went back in to see the attendant and pay for his gas. The man looked intently at Steve and said, “no charge.” Steve thought he had not heard the gentleman correctly. “Pardon me?” He asked.
Again, the gentleman said, “No charge.” Steve began to protest, but the man put his hand up to silence him. Looking again at Steve intently, the man said, “No charge. The young man who came to your aid is my son. He already paid the price for you to be filled up.”
So, it is with Christmas!
They were stuck, and at the perfect time…not chronological time, but a time that is measured in God’s terms, when the conditions were right, His Son came to the rescue, that we “might have life, and life to the fullest (John 10:10).” And it was he, himself, who paid the price for us.
We might even say that Jesus paid twice. First, he gave up all that he had in heaven, becoming one of us, like us in all things except sin, being born and laid on the altar of the manger (an animal’s table). Second, he surrendered his life on the altar of the Cross and so accepted death for us.
And who really responded to him? Not the political elites. Not the religious leaders, but those whose tanks were empty. The sinners, the tax collectors, the prostitutes, the sick, the blind, and the lame. And those who received Him were filled. And to them the God, the Father, said, “No charge.”
Once they were filled up, these first saints did not keep that fill of grace to themselves. Rather, they became overflowing cups, and their lives were a witness to the grace that poured forth.
So, it is with us!
For many, we are blind, weak, lame, sick, sinful, broken or empty, and we seek to be filled. Unfortunately, there are also so many whose lives are already filled with so many other things that we cannot even feel the emptiness of our spiritual tanks.
We occupy the driver’s seat of our lives with the windows down and blaring distractions. These final days of Advent call us to roll up the windows, turn down the radio, and, unlike Steve, look at the gas gauge. Our tanks are often far emptier than we realized. Let Jesus fill your tank this Christmas. Follow Him as he leads you to his Father’s place, so you can take the journey He as planned for you!
Come, Lord Jesus!
Come quickly, and do not delay!
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