The Necessity of Emptiness

I’m continuing recovery from a back injury that sent me to the floor on March 1, 2012.  The pain from this caused me to miss four weeks from the preaching at my church as well as a host of other things an active guy like me enjoys doing.  It was four weeks of much physical and emotional pain and a great deal of solitude, prayer, acceptance, and emptiness – lessons I’ll be walking away with after this wonderful, albeit painful, Sabbatical.  The first was SOLITUDE, the second was PRAYER, the third was ACCEPTANCE (see prior posts), and the last (for now)…


Our life-cups are pretty full.  Full of schedules, activities, work, kids, deadlines, payments, appointments, opinions, ideas, speculations, stereotypes, assumptions,  religious stuff, hopes, dreams … did I mention opinions?!

Sometimes our cups get so full that we simply have no room for anything else – even God. There is simply no space left.  Oh, we might give him a glance now and then; a Sunday once in a while, a prayer if we need something.  But nothing even close to the intimate relationship he so longs to have with us.

Yet, the usefulness of a cup is in its emptiness.

Philippians 2:7 says that (Jesus) made himself nothing.  This English translation comes from a Greek word that literally means Jesus emptied himself.  He emptied himself of everything he deserved as God so that he could fulfill the task his Father commissioned him to do on this earth.

Jesus emptied himself.  Even though it meant humanity, goofy disciples, religious intolerance (from the Pharisees and Sadducees), being misunderstood, pain, struggle, the Garden of Gethsemane, the Cross, death.  Wow.  Yet his resurrection proves that in his self-emptying the Father filled him with his purpose and Jesus accomplished it.  Wow, again.

Maybe it’s time to empty the cup and begin again.

Perhaps during this Easter season we could die to self – empty the cup – and be open to what God wants to put in it – resurrection and life.  REAL LIFE.

~ by jackpickel on April 5, 2012.

3 Responses to “The Necessity of Emptiness”

  1. I enjoyed this series on your blog.

  2. So how do you do that? (“Empty the cup” of schedules, activities, work, kids, deadlines, payments, appointments?) I understand getting rid of opinions, ideas, speculations, stereotypes, assumptions, religious stuff, hopes, dreams because I have learned how to pray about these things and let the Holy Spirit change my thinking. (Not to say I always DO this, but I at least know HOW to.) But, truly, what are we to do about all the rest of it, the things that keep us to BUSY. What do we say no to? Family? Friends? Work? Ministry? Finding the balance is so terribly hard…..

    • Stacey, I’m sure it’s different for everybody. But I still believe, and years of being in the people-business proves, that basically people do what they want to do. If someone wants to say “No” to something, they will (church people do it at church all the time!). I believe a part of knowing my identity in Christ is to be who he says I am and make choices in light of that (even if it kindly means saying “No” to a family member occasionally). I sure don’t think it’s the Holy Spirit’s desire for us not to have a “life”, but at least to scale down, reduce, relax, and open up for more time with the Father and more time for kingdom business. I can’t get away from what Jesus told three guys. To a guy who’d just bought land, Jesus said “Walk away from it and follow me”. To a newlywed, Jesus said “follow me”. To a guy whose father was dead at the morgue, Jesus said “nothing you can do for him, follow me.” Pretty strong stuff.

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