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Empty Hoppers

Discussion in 'Daily Devotionals' started by ZiSunka, May 6, 2002.

  1. ZiSunka

    ZiSunka It means 'yellow dog'

    (And when he had sent the crowd away, He went away by Himself to the mountain to pray. By the time evening came, He was alone. Matthew 14:23)

    My best friend is married to a farmer. I frequently go to visit them on the family farm. I enjoy country life. Other than the smell of the manure and the sludge, I get a lot of pleasure from walking through the fields and woods of the hundred-and-some acres that surround their house. Watching the cows graze and sun themselves in the pasture is somehow quieting to me.

    Many times, when I have been there in the spring, I have seen the farmer planting the summer crops. Down the field and back, the tractor moves the seed drill, cutting the soil and dropping the tiny seeds into the rich loam that will nourish and support them as they grow. For hours on end, the drill moves along, giving new life to the fallow fields.

    One time I saw the farmer use the skid loader to take pallets of seed bags to various spots around the edge of the field he was about to plant. As the day progressed, I realized that he had done this so he could stop at regular intervals to refill the seed hoppers on the drill. Through experience, he knew how much land he could cover before the hoppers were empty. Continuing to run the seed drill with empty hoppers would just be a waste of gasoline. No seed would be planted, so none could grow to yield a harvest.

    Often, we forget that we can be empty, too. Sometimes we simply run out of the physical and spiritual wherewithal to continue to make our work fruitful. When we don't know when to stop and fill-up again, we end up just going through the motions of faith, without any hope of profitable return. Our hoppers are empty, but the tractor's still moving, wasting energy.

    This never happened to Jesus. Time and again, He walked away from His work to get rested and recharged. He knew by experience how much He could do without draining Himself. He knew His physical and spiritual limitations, accepted them, and respected them. Unlike us, He never tried to prove His identity to others by overextending, although He undoubtedly faced the temptation to do so. He never allowed fatigue to muddle His ministry.

    In Leviticus, God ordained that everyone should take one day off out of every seven. He allowed no work of any kind; rest was the order of the day. He also commanded a yearlong break once every seven years. No planting, no harvesting or physical work of any kind was to be performed during this sabbatical year. The time was to be spent in worship of Him, in fellowship with others and in recharging the spirit and body. He knew that without His intervention, we would gladly work ourselves to death.

    In contemporary times, we have replaced the sabbatical year with two weeks of vacation each year. But many of us don't even take these mini-sabbaticals, or we use them to get even more work done. We don't retreat on a vacation, we charge forward, zealous to conquer more mulch, more lumber, more miles or more historic landmarks.

    Even on so-called Christian retreats, there is usually more intensity than there is resting. At one women's "retreat" recently advertised in our church bulletin, the ladies were to begin their day with breakfast at six-thirty, move on to the keynote speech at seven-thirty, the first session at nine, the second at ten o'clock, the third at eleven, lunch at noon. The fourth session began at one o'clock, the fifth at two, and the sixth at three. Group discussion began at four o'clock, panel discussion at five. The women were given a small break from six-thirty to seven-thirty so they could change clothes for the banquet, which ended at midnight. Where was the retreat in all of this?

    We learn from I Kings 19 that "retreating" should give us the rest that we need in order to restore our ability to hear the voice of God. In that chapter, Elijah hid in the wilderness to recover from his confrontation with Jezebel. Already in an exhausted state, fear, pain and fatigue overcame him and he plummeted into clinical depression. Although he begged the Lord to let him die, God understood that his physical state was causing his emotional problem. He sent Elijah to a CAVE until he was refreshed enough to hear and obey the still, small voice of God. He had become so depleted that he was unable to serve the Lord He loved.

    We, like the farmer, must learn from experience when to expect our hoppers to be empty, and to plan breaks for ourselves at appropriate intervals. We must stop declining vacations, and stop confusing spiritual retreats with conferences. More of us need to own hammocks.

    (...but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. 1 Kings 19:11-12)
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  2. altya

    altya Servant of God

    I do agree with you and have found in the ministry sometimes I feel so empty. I also notice that God withdraw me from ministry for short times and I call this winter seasons. In these times I am so close to God and get new ideas and words to bring to people. I thank God for these times but the first time when this happened to me I thought I was backslidden.

    Thanks for this word, its nice to know that other people also go through times like these
  3. Gerry

    Gerry Jesus Paid It All

    WOW! I almost missed this post! Glad I found it. There seems to be a lot of meat and bread and a little milk to wash it all down with in here.

    I sure do understand about empty hoppers. And a retreat? lol! THAT is NO place to be recharged and renewed and rest. Most retreats are nothing but a full charge, and you come away more drained than when you went.

    Ever notice two people in love? They tend to do that too. They are always in a constant charge. They rae very busy talking and sharing and learning one another. Thing is they seldom remember 10% of what they have learned and have to be constantly reminded. They don't take the time to rest and absorb and grow so they can hold more. This couple wears themself out running to and fro.

    But tyhen now and then you will see the older couple in love. You see them in a restaurant and they are sitting quietly, holding hands and communing without all the exhausting words. You see them walking along a beach, or in a park, just strolling, holding hands, constantly touching each other but saying very litle. When they look at each other thier eyes dance and they exchange looks. They are communicating, recharging themselves and each other. They are growing and filling thier hoppers. They are at rest and at peace.

    Sometimes the way to learn is to teach. Sometimes when we are emptied out and drained we need to just sit quietly and listen. "Be still and know that I am God." Sometimes we don't even need to "talk" to God. We just need to be quiet and rest in Him. Just REST in Him. Sometimes like lovers cuddling and holding each other in silence, we need to just rest in His arms and draw new strength and knowlege and wisdom in complete silence.

    Yes, it is sometimes hard, for those of us who are in full time service to Jesus, to just rest. It is our natural bent to charge hard becaue we know our time is short. But we will accomplish more if we slow down and refill our hoppers with a new and fresh anointing.

    Matthew 10:27: "What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops." When we climb in and soak in this verse it takes on new meaning for empty hoppers, doesn't it?
  4. Living for Him

    Living for Him RTrue24Fan For Rocky

    That was awesome. Thankyou !

    Living for Him, Lori