The fuel gauges on my vehicles behave oddly. I did hear recently, however, that my observations about fuel gauges compare well with many other peoples.’ With the tanks starting at full, they remain full for a long time, and then move gradually down the gauge until the half-way point. Then they drop precipitously. The last half tank goes twice as fast as the first half, and the gauges speed up as they approach empty. When the needles reach the empty mark, two or three gallons remain in the tank, but I do not feel secure in depending on them. My riders, feeling even less secure, insist that I refill instead of driving on empty. One of my riders (who can remain unnamed), aware of the odd behavior of the gauges, always insists that our gas tank should be filled just before we drive into a city, because that person believes that at some point in our trip I will always get lost in the worst slums of that city. To be fair, she also gets nervous when we are driving across the vast expanses of the Great Plains.

The ornery behavior of my gauges parallels my soul. If a spiritual supply gauge could be affixed to my body, it would probably behave in a similar way. Filled up with an awareness of abundance and grace, well-rested in mind and body, I would register full for a long time, probably long past the time that my resources begin to diminish. Gradually I would indicate the ebbing of my awareness of grace until I reach the point at which I notice that I am only half-full. Then in a frenzy of activity I would use up my reserves and register empty before I actually am. The challenge comes to refill before I run out of gas completely.

Maybe I need such a gauge, but with or without it, the use of my time, talents, and energies depends on my awareness that the gifts I contain are limited, while the source of the supply is unlimited. Filling up is a regular undertaking, and I must allow time for the rest, worship, meditation, and recreation that fill me and others around me. Running in empty may be possible for longer than anyone has a right to expect, but it really is not worth the risk of getting stranded where we do not want to be.