I sort of remember the days of full-service gas stations. My Dad would drive in and say, “Fill ‘er up,” and the gas station attendant would jump into action. Filling up the gas tank, cleaning the windshield, checking the oil level, and even checking the air pressure in the tires.
But, alas, those days of full service seem to be long gone, replaced by highly-efficient, less-personal self-serve stations. And I’m not necessarily talking just about gasoline stations either.
All of our lives seem to have become more efficient and less personal. We are a more do-it-yourself, leverage-technology kind of society today. And I wonder if the result is that many people aren’t getting filled up like they used to.
There is a well-known Bible story in 2 Kings 4. A widow is facing what would amount to foreclosure today. Except this foreclosure was on her sons. Her husband, a God-fearing man, had died and left her with debts she could not pay. The practice in that society was for her sons to be “sold” to pay off the debts. Her sons would have to work all day long for someone else, and whatever money they would have earned for their labors would go to the creditors.
In her desperation the widow turned to the prophet Elisha. He asked her if she had anything of value in her house, and she replied, “Just a little oil. But not enough to pay off my debts.” The counsel Elisha gave her is applicable for our self-serve society today —
Elisha said, “Go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars. Don’t ask for just a few” (v. 3).
Elisha asked the woman and her family to humble themselves — ask all your neighbors. Sometimes this is one of our biggest hindrances: pride which keeps us from admitting we have a need. And this was no small task because she had to ask ALL her neighbors to, “Fill ‘er up!”
Elisha asked them to be persistent — don’t ask for just a few. Not just a jar here and there, but ask for every available jar to, “Fill ‘er up!”
This story shouldn’t just apply to times of desperation in our lives. Because maybe if we worked on being around our neighbors and asking what needs they have, and sharing our needs as well, maybe we wouldn’t get into such desperate situations.
In the story in 2 Kings the oil stopped flowing only after every available jar had been filled. If I want God to continue to pour His oil of blessing into my life, He has to have room in which to pour. That means that I need to be pouring into others’ lives daily. Listen to the blessings when we, “Fill ‘er up!” —
I want you to know how delighted I am to have Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus here with me. They partially make up for your absence! They’ve refreshed me by keeping me in touch with you. (1 Corinthians 16:17-18, The Message)
In addition to our own encouragement, we were especially delighted to see how happy Titus was, because his spirit has been refreshed by all of you.(2 Corinthians 7:13, New International Version)
God bless Onesiphorus and his family! Many’s the time I’ve been refreshed in that house. And he wasn’t embarrassed a bit that I was in jail. The first thing he did when he got to Rome was look me up. May God on the Last Day treat him as well as he treated me. (2 Timothy 1:16-18, The Message)
Your love has given me much joy and comfort, my brother, for your kindness has often refreshed the hearts of God’s people. (Philemon 7, New Living Translation)
Get around other “full” people and let them fill you up.
Seek out “empty” people and pour abundantly into them.
The more you pour out into others, the more room there is for God to pour into you.
God is always pleased when our lifestyle is one of “Fill ‘er up!”