A Full Service God And A Self Serving People
A Full Service God And A Self Serving People Scripture:"Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness and for his wonderful works to the children of men. For he satisfieth the longing soul and filleth the hungry soul with goodness." Psalms 107:8-9 Introduction When is the last time you have seen a "real" full service gasoline station? They are hard to find, regardless of the community. The old fashioned full service stations were places where the attendants, not only pumped your gas, but checked your water, oil, transmission fluids, belts, and hoses. After that was done, they would check the air pressure in your tires, wash the windshield, and often gave a lollipop to kids, without any extra cost. The full service station attendants were usually personal and congenial; the smile was a part of the package. Today, full service stations are a rarity. What we see plenty of is "self service" stations. The self service concept, simply stated, is that economy is more important than cordiality. Otherwise, you can cut the smile, the greetings and the window washings and reduce the price of the gasoline. To save money, patrons are increasingly saying, "I can do it myself." We tell the petroleum industry that we will "do it ourselves" but, we usually don't. Hurriedly we get our gasoline and too often we leave quickly without checking the oil, water, tires, hoses and belts. About the only thing that we actually do for ourselves, in most instances, is pump the gas. The idea behind the self service approach is that we can cut out the middle man, save money and still get the same results. We succeed at cutting out the middle man and saving money, but we rarely get the same results. There are some who approach the fountains of heaven with a "self service" attitude. These are those who say they can get the same results: blessings, answered prayers, and salvation with a "do it your self" free of all of the other time consuming demands of the full service approach. They cut out the middle man, who is Christ. They attend a worship service occasionally but they save money by not giving. As for Sunday school, Bible Study, and weekly prayer they conclude "I can do these myself." As well rounded Christians, we should remember that bounties of self service are limited by our mortality. But the wonderful blessings that God has in store for us are unlimited. Our self service at best is poor service. But God's full service is rich and fulfilling. At Heaven's fountain of blessings, let's look for the full service Island, because there we can be found, favored and filled, with the Joy of God's love. -I- Our text today raises the idea of being empty. The two phrases of verse 9 pointing to the "longing soul" and the "hungry soul," usher in the idea that man is empty and that it is God that fills. The 107th Psalm is divided into four sections each praising for delivering and saving mankind. At verse 1 there is a word of thanks from the redeemed for the salvation of God. At verse 15 there is praise for deliverance from sickness. At verse 21 there is praise for deliverance from abject poverty and hunger. Our text verses at 8-9 give praise for satisfying the emptiness and longings of men apart from God. The tell the story of how God took those of us who rebelled against his word and brought us to our lowest point, removed our physical supports, and then saved us out of our distresses. With respect to emptiness toward God there are two kinds of people. First there are those who drive around knowing that they are on empty. These are those who know in their minds that they have neglected their service to God, neglected their study of his word, and caught in the hustle and bustle of trying to make a living have lost most of the prayer life, and diminished their public worship to occasional appearances. All they can do is make it from day to day on what little bit that is left. If they know they are empty why won't they simply stop and spiritually gas up? Some don't stop because they are busy pursuing their own agenda and keep putting off necessary pit stops. And if they happened to run out, these are satisfied to tip in to a service somewhere with a little gallon can, for just enough to get them to the next corner. Jesus alluded to this when he spoke of the ten virgins with lamps waiting for the bridegroom. Some missed the wedding, not because they were not invited, but because they operated on Empty and knew it. There are some who don't fill up because they just don't have what it takes, money wise, to get any more. While salvation is free it does require that each believer commit himself to full service. Some don't have or are not willing to give a full commitment of their time, talent and resources, therefore they ride on empty. There are others, for one reason or the other that do not know they are empty because the "needle" doesn't work. Have you ever faced that situation? Being in an automobile where the gas needle didn't work? In such a situation, it is quite possible to drive along quite comfortable and not know that we are riding on "Empty." There are many who go through life with many comforts and luxuries and never realize that they are riding on empty because the needle isn't working. Our text says God brings us down to our lowest point, where even friends cannot be of any assistance, and that is at that point that the needle begins to work for many and they realize they are empty and need God. I don't about you but I have learned that there is nothing I can do without the Lord! If you are a writer, you can hold the pen but it is God that inspires the thought! If you are a choir member you can stand and open your mouth, but it is God that sings the song! If you are a musician, you can place your fingers on the keys, but it is God that guides them through the highs and lows! If you are a teacher, you can stand and spit out information, but it is God that stimulates, inspiration and learning. If you are a cook you can stand and put the food in the pot but it is God that adds nutrition and nourishment! No wonder the song writer declares "Without God, I could do nothing, Without him, I'd surely fail. Without God I would be drifting, like a ship without a sail!" -II- Finally, brothers and Sisters, we have talked about being empty, but there is a word or two about being filled. When something is filled it can't take any more. A glass that is filled runs over the side. A tub that is filled, spills over on the floor. A soul that is filled, doesn't have any room for anything else. There are some today who can't be filled with the love of God because they are already filled with hate for their brothers. There are some who cannot be filled with the spirit of: --peace because they are already filled with confusion. --goodness (Romans 15:14),because -- evil devices. --grace and truth (John 1:14) because- lying lips and deceitfulness. --Light (Luke 11:34-36) because- darkness. --Righteousness (Philippians 1:11) because –unrighteousness. --Joy (Acts 13:52) because -- sadness. I don't know about you but I don't like to ride with my spiritual tank running low. Every now and then I like to pull up to heaven's full service station for a spiritual checkup. I tell the Lord to check the oil of my patience. We can get more miles out of life if we have patience. "They that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up on wings as Eagles, they shall run and not get weary, they shall walk and not faint" No Wonder David said, "Thou anointest my head with oil, my cup runneth over.." But don't stop there. Be sure to check my tires and my power steering, for they guide me along the way! I don't know about you, but I want the Lord to lead me and guide me along the way, for if you lead me I will not stray. I heard Dr. Watts say, "Guide me oh thy great Jehovah, pilgrim through this barren land.." The best thing about God's full service station is that you don't have to pay because the services are free. You don't have to pay for the oil check, because Jesus paid it all You don't have to pay for the steering and fill up, because Jesus paid it all One evening, 2000 years ago Jesus --The fountain of our joy! --Bread of our table --Song of our midnight --Foundation of our building --Rock of our shelter --Pilot of our Ship Said "you can put your trust in the man behind the stars" Jesus paid it all!