From the time I started driving, it was a given – check the gas gauge the first thing when you get in the car.
I remember my oldest brother, wise one that he was, telling me it didn’t cost any more to run off the top of the tank than off the bottom. Well, I was 16, and didn’t have much money and, though I could see the wisdom in his advice there were times when driving off the top of the tank just wasn’t possible.
However, I don’t recall ever running out of gas. Running on fumes? Yes, that happened occasionally but I never did run dry.
On a recent Friday, I had plans to meet a friend at a park the next day. I needed gas. I would need to mow after our outing so I took along the gas cans I use for the mower. On the way home, I stopped for gas. I went through the usual routine – starting filling the car while I got out the cans.
As I took the hose from the car, I thought, “Oh, I didn’t top it off like I usually do.” But I had read a warning just a day or two before saying it was never good to top off a tank, so that wouldn’t be a problem. Then, as I drove home, I noticed the gas gauge wasn’t registering what it should. I would add that repair to the routine service job that was due.
Fast forward to Saturday, on my way to the park. Oh! The gas gauge started working as usual. I’d better stop and fill up. When I finally got to the truck stop, my car showed I had 17 miles left. Of course, by now I had figured out what had happened. When I started filling the car, I had gone on about my business. While I was doing that, the pump kicked off and had just been setting there doing nothing.
I hadn’t checked it when I switched to the cans. Yes, the gas gauge was working properly. Fortunately, I had figured this out and determined to buy gas as soon as possible. By doing some thinking and acting accordingly I had averted an embarrassing situation. Cars don’t run well without gas. Neither do some other things.
One afternoon, as second shift officers arrived at the jail when I was working there, they reported a pigeon huddled next to the building right by the door. Concerned, someone called a wildlife service person, who came to check on the bird. His report? It’s a carrier pigeon, and he just ran out of gas. Let him alone, and when he is rested he will be on his way again. And that’s what happened.
Sometimes, we run low of gas in our spiritual lives. That has been the case for many of us during the COVID-19 shut down. We missed our usual fill-ups on Sunday mornings. Left to our own devices it was easy to become very needy in a spiritual sense.
But, Friends, we still have our Bibles, we still have prayer, and we can feed ourselves. Like the pigeon, we need to rest in the strength of Him who bought us with His very own blood, regain our strength, and be on our way to serving Him once again.
While my car needed actual gas, our spiritual well being needs renewal, too. Sometimes we have to seek if out for ourselves.