When a Small-Group Leader is Running on Empty

Are empty tanks always meant to be filled?

There is a metaphor that we often use with each other, particularly in Christian circles. It is the metaphor of the "fuel tank." We like to say, "How is your tank these days? Is it full or empty?" Of course, we are not talking about the fuel tank on our mini-van or lawn mower. We are talking about a psychological tank that somehow monitors our physical, emotional, and mental energy.

If you have been a small group leader for very long, I think it would be fair to say we have all gone through times when we felt like our tank was full and times when we felt like our tank was empty.

I understand the concept, much like I know when my stomach is empty and I am hungry. The question is, How does my tank level impact me spiritually?What role does a "full" or "empty" tank play in our growth as a small group leader, if any?

The world certainly tells me that no need should go unmet. Fill your tank whenever you need, with whatever you need. However, are empty tanks always to be filled? Are we entitled to have our tanks full, or does that thinking come out of our affluent consumer comfort culture? What does the Bible say about this, if anything?What did Jesus demonstrate in his first small group of disciples about this issue?

There are a couple of encounters Jesus had with His disciples in Luke 9 that provides some insight. The first event was Jesus sending out the disciples to do ministry—preaching, casting out demons, and healing disease. He told them,"Take nothing for your journey. Don't take a walking stick, a traveler's bag, food, money, or even a change of clothes."(Luke 9:3 NLT)

It is recorded in Luke 9 that the disciples returned from their "mission trip" and reported all that had happened. At that point, Jesus and the disciples ...

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