By Mike Gilland
Has it ever happened to you? That dreaded moment when your car
suddenly gives a couple of unexpected and abnormal jerks and
bumps. With a painful realization, you say to yourself, “Yep, you did it
now.” You took that extra chance…you thought you could make it
just a little bit farther down the road on that tank of gas. But, just like
a bank can immediately call the note on a loan during difficult times,
your car just “called”, functionally saying “Uh, that’s all. Pull over,
buster. I’m outta gas.”
In that most difficult moment, survival now becomes the pressing
issue – you have only a few moments, riding on whatever momentum
you had going for you before that last drop of precious petro slid into
your fuel injector. Now, job one is to coast along and find a safe
place to pull over. And, once you do, job two is to figure out how
you’re going to get more gas into that tank.
Sadly, this experience has happened to me more than once.
Fortunately, it has been a long time since I ran out of gas. But…it
hasn’t been that long since I was “running on fumes.” That is what
my Dad used to call it, that habit of pushing yourself too hard, to a
point of exhaustion. And when you are running on fumes, you’re in
more danger than you realize.
Going back to the literal gas tank analogy for a moment…there are
really only two conditions at play when it comes to running out of gas.
One – pure carelessness. You know you need to stop and fill up, but
you ignore the gas gauge, and even that annoying “low fuel” light that
came on last night.
The second reason is a bit more pervasive, and perhaps more
troubling. It is the state of presumption, wherein we presume that we
are going to make it. That is a dangerous state of mind. Against all
odds, we roll the dice and keep on driving.
These two reasons really do apply to our physical walk as well, and
our need to not “run on fumes” in our daily lives.
We know we need to pray. We need to read the Word. But
carelessly and quite recklessly, we press on through the day, as if we
don’t really need a Savior. ‘Tis a dangerous thing to run our lives with
this level of recklessness.
And so it is with the second condition…presumption. Just like the
rich fool in Luke 12:13-21, we can easily say to God, “Here’s what I’m
going to do…this, and that, and this and that…” never once taking the
time to stop, pray, meditate on, and read His Word. We presume that
we are going to come out OK, even though we are operating purely
on our own strength and our own plans. Presuming on his plans
didn’t work out so well for that guy in that passage.
Truth is, it doesn’t work out well for us either. So, a good thing to do
is pause and ask: “Am I running on fumes today?” If you answer
yes, then stop right now. Pray. Read. Get your heart filled up. It is a
much less dangerous way to live.
Mike Gilland is Operations Manager for The Shepherd Radio Network, a group of radio stations in Florida that features the “Christian Teach/Talk” format. Mike hosts a daily talk radio show in the 2 PM hour called “Afternoons with Mike”, talking to local pastors and newsmakers. In Orlando, The Shepherd is heard on WIWA, AM 1270. In addition to his broadcast experience, Mike spent 36 years in full-time ministry as a pastor and worship leader. As a guitarist, Mike performs at concerts, restaurants, private parties, etc. He is married to Cindy, the father of four grown children and grandfather to seven grandchildren.