I heard that phrase lots while I was growing up and, to be honest with you, I had no idea what it meant until well into adulthood (along with many other colloquialisms, I’m a slow learner).
The thing that really brought this alive to me was ministry, and dealing with such a variety of people. I remember praying for a young man one night at the tail end of a church service. He came asking for prayer because he was struggling with thoughts of violence. He claimed he would drive the streets at night looking for a fight to pick. He said he couldn’t help himself and really wanted God to intervene. Out of the blue (or by inspiration of the Holy Spirit) I asked him what kind of movies he liked to watch. He proceeded to give me a list of the most violent, agro-filled, angry films on the market. What surprised me was that he really didn’t know why he felt so violent all the time! He was clueless to the fact that all the garbage he was taking in was making its way out.
What we fill our souls with doesn’t end with our subconscious reactions to entertainment though. One lesson I’m constantly reminding myself of, as a minister, is that I can’t give away what I don’t have.
As leaders, we have a responsibility to be filling up. If we’re going to give others more than pithy sayings, trite answers, and fake smiles, then we MUST be filling ourselves up! We must be on our knees before Jesus, we must be filling up on His word, and we must be gleaning from the faith generals that have gone before us.
So many leaders are running on an empty tank and they’re useless. They’ve exchanged refueling for the sense of accomplishment they get from working ridiculous hours.
OK, I’m going down a rabbit trail so I’ll end.
You can’t squeeze blood from a turnip, you can’t get salt water from a fresh water stream, and you can’t get depth, wisdom, and anointing from a leader who isn’t deliberately being filled with the Spirit and wisdom of God.
Take time to be filled up. Read, pray, rest, and grow. The people you are leading need you to.