What to do When You Are Running on Empty
Now the Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go; I am sending you to Jesse the Bethlehemite. For I have provided Myself a king among his sons” (1 Samuel 16:1 NKJV).
Samuel was grieving. Not so much the loss of someone, but a deep grieving over purpose and defeat. You see, he had given his all; he’d poured into Saul, he had given of himself to his sons, he had spent himself on the nation of Israel. And now, one by one, they were slipping away, asking for more, and rejecting him. Maybe you have felt a little bit like Samuel? Empty.
Adults give, and give, and then give some more. We give to our children, our spouses, our jobs, our homes, our friends, our church! And if we are not careful, we will give until our horns are empty. Until the oil of gladness and joy are dried up. We can only give what we have, so you better be getting from Jesus on a regular basis.
There's power in this text of 1 Samuel. God is saying, yes, there is a time to mourn and to grieve. It’s normal to feel like we’ve given all we had and it wasn’t enough. We cannot live in denial that life brings brokenness, and sometimes we are crushed under the weight of disappointment. But there’s also an appointed time for that grieving to end. And we’re to pick up our horns, go to the altar and be filled again with a fresh anointing from God. The Lord said to Samuel, “Fill your horn with oil and go...” listen to these words: “for I have provided.”
For Samuel it was a physical horn in which he carried anointing oil. His horn had been drained and he felt like there was nothing more he could do. But God had other plans. God had a king that needed to be anointed. He had a giant-slayer that needed Samuel. God said, “Samuel, I need your horn to be full of oil.” Why? “Because there’s a guy named David that you’re going to pour the anointing on, and he’s going to take a city from the Gibeonites that will become Jerusalem. And by the way, David will have a great, great, great-granddaughter by the name of Mary, and Mary will have a little Lamb, and His name will be called Jesus. And in that city of Jerusalem, Jesus will carry a cross and die on that cross, and He’ll be known as the Son of David.
If you are still living and breathing, then God is not finished with you. Your children need you. OUR children—the next generation—need you. The impact these children will have on future generations is unknown and unimaginable! We must be filled in order to pour into them. We must have something to give, and we can’t keep pouring out of dried up horns. It’s not physical oil for you and me, it’s what’s in us. If you’re empty, you’ve only got emptiness to give.
Whatever it takes for you to refuel, refuel! Get to the altar, get into the Word, worship the Lord. Find a way to get into His presence and allow the Holy Spirit to fill you new and fresh every day. Once a week is not enough. Once a month is certainly not enough. Your communion with God should be daily. You don’t have to wait until you are at Church to seek Him, to praise Him, or to talk to Him. He is always with you and waiting for you.
This I recall to my mind,
Therefore I have hope.
Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I hope in Him!”
The Lord is good to those who wait for Him,
To the soul who seeks Him.