Have you ever had a time in your life where you were continually running on empty? There was more than a five-year period where I spent the majority of my “free time” running the roads and taking care of my parents. I worked a full-time job, and spent most weekends with my parents, and that included several evenings during the week as needed. While I began this service from a loving and joyful heart, I admit there were times that I was running on empty and the giving of my time and talents were at times compulsory. This morning I realize that I was running on empty because I gave from emptiness. “For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.” (Luke 6:38)
Truthfully, I was running on my own power–just putting one foot in front of the other–and I was overwhelmed and exhausted. I didn’t take the time to fill myself with the things of God, so I truly was running on empty. “Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Cor 9:6-7)
After my mom passed, my dad lived another 25 months. It was during this time that God began to do a work in me to bring me back to the fold. Instead of spending every weekend with my dad, I began to spend every other weekend. During this time I began to thirst and hunger for the Word of God and for fellowship with the brethren. “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed; as it is written, ‘He scattered abroad, He gave to the poor, His righteousness endures forever.’ Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness; you will be enriched in everything for all liberality, which through us is producing thanksgiving to God.” (2 Cor 9:8-11).
I joined a church, I was re-baptized (not from necessity, but to rededicate my life to God). I began this blog, and I began and co-hosted a small group with a dear friend. God created an amazing group of women seeking Him that has flourished into an amazing group of true friends. I refocused my attention on the things of God. And, as only the Lord can do, He supplied all that I needed to sow and multiply seed to increase the harvest of righteousness, which enriched my life and has produced in me an ability to be thankful to the Lord. I didn’t have that ability on my own–it came from the Lord. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Phil 4:13) And He has shown me that I am only able to do all things He gives me to do if I give Him my burdens: “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matt. 11:28)
How and what I sow must be given from a thankful heart, which only Christ can create in me out of the abundance of His grace. And out of His abundance He provides all the “seed” to share for His harvest. “For the ministry of this service is not only fully supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing through many thanksgivings to God. Because of the proof given by this ministry, they will glorify God for your obedience to your confession of the gospel of Christ and for the liberality of your contribution to them and to all, while they also, by prayer on your behalf, yearn for you because of the surpassing grace of God in you.” (2 Cor 9:12-14)
As I am humbled this morning for His great work within me for His purpose, I can only respond with “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” (2 Cor 9:15)