Living on Empty

Read 1 Kings 19:1-9 (“Then he (Elijah) was afraid, and he arose and ran for his life and came to Beersheba… But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he asked that he might die, saying, ‘It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers. And he lay down and slept.”V3-5a)

In 2009 I had an emotional burnout and over the last 7 months of recharging my tank I’ve learnt some things from this turbulent season I want to pass onto you.

You don’t have to be in full time ministry to get to a place where you feel like you are living on empty. Living a full time life presents you with enough challenges to get you to this point. We are living in a culture where the pace and pressure to perform is massive and many people get crushed underneath it.

Some people live their lives like they drive their cars, right to the very edge of the empty fuel gauge. The best way to approach your fuel tank and live your life is to have some MARGIN.

One of the classic stories of living on empty comes from Elijah in 1 Kings 19:1-9. In the preceding chapter Elijah has confronted 450 prophets of Baal and seen God answer his prayer with fire. Elijah is a prophetic force in Israel and not to be taken lightly. Yet the morning after the conference at Mt Carmel Elijah’s life is threatened and out of character, he runs for his life. Instead of consulting God, he consults his flesh and decides to run for 6 days to BEERsheba… Sometimes ministry can make you feel like you need to go down to the pub for a drink… (I know, I know, cheap joke).

Elijah finds himself under a broom tree and wanting God to kill him. Elijah has had enough of life and although he loves God he doesn’t understand how he works at times… ever been there? What would make a mighty man of God run for his life, abandon his call and want to die?

Answer: He’s living on empty and when you live on empty, you respond to life in an unhealthy way. God responds to Elijah in his time of need and in this story is a ton of wisdom to help us refill the tank and start to live life as God intended it to be, in all of its fulness.

When you are living on empty you need to:

  1. Go to sleep (V5)
  2. Look for Gods messengers (V5&7)
  3. Eat, drink & be merry (V6)
  4. Rest in God’s strength (V8)
  5. Move your body (V8)
  6. Position yourself to encounter God (v8-9)

Lead the Change!

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