Hi, this is Pastor Ken, I want to welcome you to my Thoughts on a Thursday Podcast where I take some regular occurrence or personal story from my life and connect it to a scriptural truth. So here are my thoughts on this Thursday, June 15th 2023…Running On Reserve
Yesterday morning, I was driving to work on my motorcycle which is far and away my preferred mode of transportation this time of year. As I left the driveway I failed to look down at the dash on the fairing and after a night’s sleep had completely forgotten the low position of the gas gauge the day before. I can assure you that will never happen again!
I was riding along enjoying the warm morning air and the sights, and smells of the countryside when all of the sudden…the engine seemed to be losing power. It stuttered, then spit once or twice and finally gave a cough that was intended to inform me I was not going any further on that motorcycle, under those conditions. At first I thought there was something mechanically wrong with the bike…then I realized it wasn’t that at all…it was completely out of gas.
I shifted the motorcycle into neutral so that I could coast as far as possible. The church where I work was in sight, so whatever coasting I might be able to do would make walking (or worse yet) pushing the heavy motorcycle less tedious. As I rolled along the shoulder of the road without power I remembered that motorcycles have a unique feature that was designed for just such an occasion. The fuel valve under a motorcycle’s gas tank features three positions; on – off – and reserve. By rotating the valve 180 degrees from the on position it allows the fuel in the bottom of the tank to be used allowing one who has run out of gas to drive a short distance to a station to fill the tank. Remembering that, I stopped, flipped the valve in the appropriate direction, and in a few seconds had the engine roaring back to life, and I rode the rest of the way to work. I can promise you the next stop when I left there at the end of the day, was the gas station!
The experience reminded me of another that had actually happened earlier that very morning. When My alarm clock sounded and I woke up I was still tired and wanted to lay there just a few extra minutes. Some mornings I just don’t pop out of bed like I did each day in my younger years. I reasoned that it would be alright if I lay there a few extra minutes. However, I don’t get up hours before I have to leave in the morning, I never have. Since I was a teenager, I have set my alarm each day leaving just enough time to get out of bed, do the necessary things to make myself presentable, and walk out the door. I will readily admit though that the amount of time needed to accomplish the same list of things has become increasingly longer the older I have gotten. What was at one time 15 minutes has become an hour and likely will be a few hours before it I go to heaven which I understand to be timeless…so it won’t matter there.
Contemplating laying there for a few extra minutes would necessitate something else be omitted from my morning routine. The dogs were still going to want to eat, and go outside, my appearance would still need the allotted time for dressing and hygiene…so, I figured it might mean less time with my bible in my lap having my devotions. I am a pastor after all…I can read the bible at work and nobody thinks I am doing something I shouldn’t. As I admitted, I wanted to lay there; but a cold dog’s nose nudging me from beside the bed, the strong sense of responsibility instilled by my parents, and a deep love for my Savior caused my head to rise, my body to sit up, and my feet to hit the floor.
I will admit the time I now spend with the Lord each morning has not always been the case. However, in the past 15 years or so, I have come to understand how critical it is for me to do that. It is, simply put, as important to me and my ability to function as God wants me to, as gasoline is to the smooth operation of my motorcycle. The tank on my motorcycle is of a capacity that will allow me to ride to work several days without a fill-up. Not so with my spiritual one, that needs to be refilled every day because as an imperfect vessel, I leak. I need the refreshed input of the Holy Spirit to fill me new each morning. I need to refocus my mind on my Lord regularly…and by regularly I mean daily, if I want to consider things with the mind of Christ.
Isaiah 26:3 in the New King James Version says You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You. There are too many variables in our lives everyday to risk making decisions about; what to do, where to go, who to interact with and how to do that correctly, without considering what Christ would have us do in each of those situations. In fact, the sheer number of decisions we are faced with daily can rob us of a peaceful existence. This scripture tells us that God desires for us to live in perfect peace…no matter what may come our way. It also gives the formula for obtaining that kind of peace. This passage says that perfect peace is a state of being, given to all who have directed their minds and thoughts to what their Lord desires of, and for them. I can’t speak for you, but in my case a What Would Jesus Do? bracelet isn’t going to cut it as I make all those decisions each day. I often wonder…without reading and studying the Word of God, how are we supposed to know what the Word would do? The Apostle John wrote of Jesus In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life and the life was the light of men. John 1:1-4 If Jesus is the Word…and He is, how do we determine what Jesus would do, if we don’t know what the Word says?
Isaiah 26:3 goes on to say that those whose minds are stayed on Him, or in other words those who are continuously in His Word, do so because they have put their trust in Him. There is an important reverse truth here that I don’t think we can afford to ignore. Those who put their trust in Him…allow their minds to be turned toward His words and His thoughts. To put it simply and personally, If I don’t fill my spiritual tank with His word each and every day, when I make decisions they will be illustrative of my thoughts, which will clearly indicate it is me I trust. Think about it, if we trust someone, we follow their lead. If instead we do what we think best, it clearly means we trust ourselves more than we trust them. I have to go to God’s word each day to see His leading. You just can’t follow what you don’t care to look at.
I might be able to fill my motorcycle tank once a week, but not so for my spiritual one. As I admitted earlier, that particular tank has to be refilled each and every day. That isn’t simply a personal assessment…it’s true for all of us. How can I say that? Because Jesus said it. In John 8:31&32 He said to those who believe in Him… and that includes you and me…“If you abide in my word you are my disciples indeed, and you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free”. The keyword here is abide. To abide means to live in, just like we abide in our homes. We live every day, so to abide in God’s Word, to abide in Christ, is to live in it every day. If you want to live but only take a breath once a week…it wouldn’t be enough and you would die…even if you took that breath on Sundays. You just can’t run that far on reserve.
Psalm 1:2-3 in the New Living Translation says [Blessed are] they [that] delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.
So now, delighting in the Law of the Lord, living in his word every day and enjoying the peace that comes from trusting Him…Go Be Awesome!