When I was a kid, I had an effective way of finishing a milk shake. A straw worked for most of it. But when I got down to those final noisy slurps, I worked with gravity. Turning the cup upside-down brought last drops to me. But when that was over, I stuck my tongue in as far as I could to gather up remaining morsels. THEN – my cup was truly empty! Nothing left! Satisfying, but also disappointing. Sometimes life drains your cup. That’s when you feel empty. It can be satisfying, but also disappointing.
Life Is Like A Milkshake
Life is full of opportunities. You can drink your fill, but then often feel empty, especially after a season of pouring out. After working hard to accomplish something, you need to fill your tank again. Here are some examples people pour into – and then often feel empty:
- A career opportunity.
- A business development.
- Sports endeavors (teams, the Olympics, etc.).
- A project or invention.
The “empty feeling” is like getting to the end of your milkshake. You may find yourself standing on the sidelines, feeling satisfied, but also disappointed. You wonder what’s next.
When You Feel Empty
It’s tiring to pour into each day. The wear and tear effect stacks up alongside the rewards of your hard work. Faithful investing takes consistency to build a productive, meaningful life.
In addition to providing for physical needs each day, there are other realities. Interactions in relationships, tending to nature (your yard or garden), career, skill development, ministry to others, and personal interests – all require energy. Keeping balls in the air and everything current requires consistent investment. Even planning vacations and rest takes energy, thought, planning.
Next thing you know, you feel empty again. Your cup is empty. Your milkshake is gone.
But – not to worry! God has some “Best” provisions for you when you feel empty.
Since God designed humans, He knows how to help. So, He provided a human example. His best man: Jesus.
What did Jesus do as a human being? Well, He did a lot! Scripture is filled with stories of His life and examples of what He accomplished. He poured into each day with passion while engaging expressions of love and service to every person. Jesus loved weddings and grieved at funerals. As a practical person, He met immediate physical needs – disease, hunger, and thirst. He walked a lot, talked about meaningful things, had fun, and loved kids! Jesus loved nature. And He was always talking about His Father and eternal life.
Jesus claimed – “Now this is eternal life: that they know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” (Jn. 17:3) He was saying . . . Knowing God is eternal life!
Christ, fully human, was faithful to a “T.” So, He likely often felt depleted, maybe empty. What did He do?
What Jesus Did
First, Jesus often departed to be alone with His Father. There, He found refreshment and renewal. This “favorite relationship” filled His heart with joy and purpose. He let God pour into Him and replenish His milkshake.
Second, Christ poured into God’s principles:
- He loved people deeply. (Jer. 31:3)
- Jesus served, met needs, showed kindness, put others first, did what needed to be done. (Jn. 13:15)
- He corrected, rebuked, and encouraged in all His teachings and relationships. (2 Tim. 4:2)
- Being well-thought and well-spoken, no unwholesome talk or ungodly conduct came out of Him. (Eph. 4:29a)
- Instead, He built others up according to their needs. (Eph. 4:29b)
- Jesus kept His head in every situation (2 Tim. 4:5 ) particularly when He was poured out on the cross for salvation.
- Every day, Jesus worked passionately to accomplish God’s desires over His own. Jn. 8:28c says, “I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me.”
Third, Jesus cares about you and wants to help when you feel empty. Following His example, He wants you to let God pour into you. And He wants you to pour into God’s principles. Col. 3:23 says, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord.” Like Jesus, why not accomplish God’s desires over your own.
Fourth, Jesus wants you to balance your life with rest the same way He did.
These practices help when you feel empty.
Jesus promotes REST. He engaged rest Himself and invites you to join Him. Mt. 11:28-29. “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
Jesus is your resting place when you feel weary, burdened, empty. He is gentle and humble in heart.
Life is hard – especially when you suffer. Perhaps you worked for years with little observable results. But when you make God – your “favorite relationship” – you enter rest daily. He replenishes you and fills your cup again.
Whether things go well or terribly, aligning your life with Scriptures means “getting more milkshake.”
Best Wine – Or Milkshake
Have you wondered about the tradition of choosing an expensive, aged bottle of wine only to throw it at the hull of a ship and watch it break, splattering all over the vessel? Poured out to christen. We are to be a poured out offering. (2 Tim. 4:6; Phil. 2:17) That phrase comes from the Old Testament Levitical reference to a poured out drink offering offered by the priests. (Gen. 35:14; Ex. 29:40-41; Lev. 23:13, 18, 37).
The drink offering was literally poured out on the ground or altar. It was a ceremony that appeared meaningless to the uninformed. The dirt lapped up the excellent offering – and that was it. Gone! No one turned the cup upside-down and licked out every drop of the choice drink.
A drink offering was a statement that God is worth even the most extreme sacrifice, pouring out.
There is a valuable nugget in this wine (or milkshake) image. Perhaps you have done everything you know in your situation. Yet, you find things won’t shift. Perhaps a marriage, family situation, job, health issue, etc.
Whatever it is, your situation can become your drink offering – pouring out your life to accomplish God’s desires over your own. Still, you may feel empty. Wondering what’s next.
God loves you and will fill you up again. He is working in ways you cannot see. Because He is good and faithful, you can relax in what you cannot yet see. You can also:
- Trust God’s love and come close to Him by faith.
- Align your life under Him.
- Christen your life as a poured out drink offering.
- With all your heart, believe God will transform you, sustain you, and accomplish His good purposes for your life.
- Choose Him to be your “favorite relationship.”
- Make Jesus your First, Most, and Best!
When you pour out your life in the spirit of a drink offering, it’s a fragrant offering to God. (Eph. 5:2) Then when you feel empty, God fills you up again. This pattern produces a depth of worship and purpose precious to God.
Poured out offering. The very essence of your identity, heart, and worth constantly overflowing and being lapped up by the dirt as you serve God in whatever season you are in. What makes you, you . . . willingly poured out with no thought of the cost or waste. This is being a living sacrifice.*
Jesus said, “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for Me will find it.” (Mt. 16:25; Mk. 8:35; Lk. 9:24)
Losing your life for Christ also means getting rest and renewal. It means getting your milkshake filled up to the very top again. That’s BEST news!
So, God gives:
- Best example – Jesus.
- Best rest.
- Best wine (or milkshake) drained to the last drop – and then filled up again.
- Best nuggets – you can depend on Him when you can’t see what’s next.
- Best offering – you’re a fragrance to God even when empty. He fills your cup. You pour out again in worship.
Application Thoughts and Questions
- Do you feel empty? Depleted? Poured out?
- Since Jesus invites you into His rest, what keeps you from accepting this invitation?
- Do you love God enough to be poured out for His purposes?
- Are you afraid when you feel empty?
- Pen to paper – record specific things you can do when you feel empty. Remember your “bests.”
- How will you apply these “bests?”
- What practical action steps will you adopt to do your part to fill your cup?
- Journal about God’s poured out love for you. Explore Jer. 31:3 as you write. How can everlasting love fill you again?
- Is He your First, Most, and Best?
- Why not christen a new season to help fill your cup again.
- Choose to accomplish God’s desires over your own. Then watch God fill your cup again – with milkshake or whatever you like.
* Today’s content is featured in Reach Back, p. 157-160 (a quality study for Jesus followers). Check it out in our bookstore. This wonderful study takes you through concepts that never grow old no matter how mature you are in Christ.
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