Posted in Faith, Servant Leadership

Don’t Lead on Empty


Empty. I really try to avoid being empty when it comes to my car. I am grateful to say that I have never run my car out of gas. It’s not that I am so responsible. The only reason is because of my intense fear of being a helpless damsel in distress. The very idea strikes dread in my heart. That dread drives me (pardon the pun) to get gas when the low fuel light comes on.

Empty. On the other hand, there have been times when I haven’t taken “being empty” as seriously for my own life. While I don’t like living and leading on spiritual fumes, I can manage it for awhile. Sometimes for a long while. I wake up late in the morning. The schedule is too full and I get distracted from connecting with the Lord. My good intentions to spend time with Him in the evening get derailed by unexpected circumstances, and I fall into bed exhausted. And so it goes. Eventually, though, it catches up with me. I end up stranded on the side of the road, needing fuel in order to move forward.

When it comes to our relationship with Jesus, being filled isn’t as simple as putting gas in our car. It is possible to go through the motions of devotions and attending worship service without opening the cap of our spiritual tank. Walking with Jesus entails more than diligently completing our spiritual checklist. It requires maintaining an open heart to Him, so we can be filled.

If we are to thrive in life and as leaders, we must cherish our relationship with Jesus. Our ability to lead as servant leaders is directly related to our connection with Him. As important as our position might be, if we try to lead on empty our effectiveness will suffer. We may rely on our administrative or interpersonal skills to carry us along, but we can’t truly love others without communing with the Lover of our Souls. Servant leadership begins with love, and the capacity to love originates with our Lord. We must be empty of ourselves (the sinful, selfish parts) and filled with His Spirit. Too often we are full of ourselves and almost spiritually empty.

Remember Jesus’ words, “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5, NLT).

Leading on empty has serious consequences. We must remain in Jesus, and He in us—the picture of true fullness. Otherwise we can do nothing.

Friend, how full is your tank? Are you spending time with Jesus? Don’t lead on empty. Rely on Him to fill you, so that you can love and lead others, and do His Kingdom work.


Heavenly Father, I acknowledge that apart from Jesus Christ I can do nothing. Help me to protect my relationship with You. Place a hunger within me to seek You first above all things. Remind me when I start to stray. Teach me to abide (remain) in You, so that I can do what You’ve asked me to do. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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