Out of Gas?

–Dr. Garry K. Brantley

A number of years ago, a beautiful float in the Tournament of Roses parade suddenly sputtered and quit. Frantic technicians scurried about to see what was wrong. No one could be sure. It appeared that all mechanisms where properly connected, and there was no perceptible reason why the motorized cart should not move the float. It was a mystery…until. Until someone asked the obvious; “Is the float out of gas?”

To everyone’s chagrin, it was. The whole parade came to a grinding halt while someone fetched a can of gas. What makes this story even more ironic—and embarrassing—is that the float was sponsored by the Standard Oil Company. With this company’s vast oil resources, it’s little truck ran out of gas!

While I try to be careful in drawing out spiritual analogies to such stories, I can see some applications to our Christian journey here. Let me suggest two. First, as children of the sovereign King of the universe, there are vast—infinitely vast—resources at our disposal. Too often, we allow our own human limitations to dictate our responses to any given crisis. And, we are limited, weak, and broken. Paul reminds us however, that God’s “power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:8).

Second, and I think this is Paul’s point, we must learn to rely on—tap into, if you will—the power of God rather than our own perceived abilities. Only then, can we experience Paul’s conclusion, “For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10). Through any hardship and trial, God’s grace is sufficient for us. If we don’t learn to make ourselves open to it, however, we, like Standard Oil Company’s float, will simply run out of gas.