Empty to Fulfilled

 In Pastor Jeff's Blog

On the last day, the climax of the festival, Jesus stood and shouted to the crowds, “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! – John 7:37 

As I sat on the beach, I watched a little girl dig a hole in the sand with a little plastic shovel. When she was done she walked down to the water’s edge with her bucket, filled it with water and walked back to fill the hole. What she didn’t see is that her bucket had a hole in the bottom, so by the time she got to the hole in the sand there was very little water to pour in. Back and forth she went to the water, oblivious to the hole in her bucket. 

How like that little girl we are. Feeling our inner emptiness, we buy something new. The excitement of our new purchase fills us up for a time, but before long the excitement leaks out of us and we feel empty again. 

Or we busy ourselves with a project and our sense of accomplishment fills us up. But before long the novelty wears off and that sense of accomplishment leaks out, leaving us feeling empty again. 

Or we eat (or overeat) food to fill both our bellies and the emptiness in our soul, but before long we find both empty again. 

It’s as if we, like that little girl’s bucket, have a leak. 

But God calls us from empty to fulfilled. He calls us to Jesus. Jesus is the Bread of Life and Living Water. He told the Samaritan woman at the well, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.” (John 4:13-14) 

It’s not that there’s anything wrong with shopping or projects or food. But when we repeatedly seek to fill ourselves with these things we live in chronic emptiness and disappointment. But when we respond to God’s call, when we go to Jesus in prayer, in Scripture, in meditation and daily trust, we drink deeply from that spring that bubbles up to fullness of life. And then shopping, projects and eating take their proper place in our lives. 

Augustine had it right when he said, “Our hearts are restless until they find their rest in You.” Put another way, we’ll continually struggle with emptiness until we discover what was meant to fill us all along: Jesus. 

Jeff Marian serves as lead pastor at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Burnsville, MN 

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  • Dave Hefko

    So very true, as I read this I am reminded of how often I fall into those traps even though I know better. Thanks Jeff.

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