Keep Your Tank Full

Written by Mike Hattabaugh

When I finished seminary, I bought my first new car. My 1990 Toyota Corolla wasn’t big, but for a young seminary couple it was way better than the car we had in New Orleans that had no air conditioning. My wife Mary and I traveled back to Arkansas after graduation to be with her family. I was sure my new car had a fuel light. I was wrong. In the middle of nowhere, the car came to a sudden halt. I had run out of gas on my first trip. After an embarrassing conversation, a person took me to get gas. After an hour or so of wasted time, we were sheepishly back on our way.

Over the years, I have recognized that pastors and church staff often don’t know their fuel tank is nearly empty and they don’t have a gas light. When I have hired church and even office staff, I have warned them that they will be exhausted in six months. Ministry is non-stop. You take the job home with you. You engage people out in public. There is no escape. Most of this activity seems benign but it is burning “gas” from your tank. Remember, you are running the whole race. Recognize when your tank is even half full and do some things that invest in you and your family to keep your tank full. We need you in the race for the long haul so don’t ignore the fuel of rest, relaxation, vacation and even just fun activity. You will be a better leader and be ready for the tasks that God puts in your ministry.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” – Hebrews 12:1-2