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home : religion : religion November 21, 2017

10/1/2017 12:11:00 AM
Riding On "E"
Charles R. Swindoll — 'Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.'
Charles R. Swindoll — 'Life is 
10% what happens to you and 
90% how you react to it.'

Rev. Susan Smith Walker
Emanuel Reformed Church

Galatians 6:9-10
9 Let us not become weary in doing good,(A) for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.(B)

When I was young I was always broke, and I learned how to drive my car with a gas tank that was almost empty. The needle would be on “E”, but I knew how to manage that. If it was on the right side of the “E”, I had a few more miles left. If it was in the middle of the “E” I might have one or two miles left. If it was on the left side of the “E” I prayed while preparing to stall and pull over. Riding on “E” was always stressful, and running out of gas was part of life.

Today the only reason I run out of gas is because I’m too busy to notice that that I’m riding on “E”. Even though I have plenty of money for gas, I can still find myself riding on “E” in life. This is a consistent issue, but especially true in the last few months of the year. 

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People are busy, and the holidays are coming. It is not unusual to hear folks complain about the hectic schedule of upcoming church, family and community events because many of us are already so overcommitted that the thought of the additional activities is intimidating - no matter how much fun they are.

Halloween, Thanksgiving, Advent, Christmas, and New Years give us numerous opportunities to do good for our fellow man, but we must not become too weary in well doing or we will miss the miracle of the harvest God has for us. Trunk or treat parties, holiday dinners and extra food for needy people, coat and toy drives, Christmas parties, Angel Tree projects, and special programs at church on top of our regular hectic lives can just about push us to the left side of “E” – totally empty.

How can we avoid this? We have to prioritize and learn how to say no. We can’t do everything and we can’t be everywhere. Being overcommitted is not Godly, and leaves us spiritually bankrupt. Riding on “E” is never good, but it is especially difficult during the holiday season when we are supposed to be spreading peace on earth and goodwill towards men. That’s hard to do that well when you’re empty.

The harvest God promises us for doing good in the world is rich in the relationships where we feel His presence and experience His love. To reap our harvest, we must prioritize our most important relationships and put our time there. Technology and social media have helped us connect with more people than ever before, but the harvest is in the relationships of those closest to us.

I admire people who know how to say no in a Godly way. It’s easy to say “yes” and then back out at the last minute because you are riding on “E” and can’t go one more step. I am more hesitant to say “yes” today. “No” is easier because I long for the harvest in my most important relationships. I don’t ride on “E” in my car anymore, and I want to do better to get off the “E” in my life too. How about you?

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