They were called filling stations, and for a good reason.
When I was young, filling stations were places where everyone went to fill their vehicles with fuel. But they were quite different than they are today. They were full service stations. When a customer pulled up to the pump, an attendant came out, asked how much fuel the person wanted, and then filled the tank for the customer. While the tank was filling, the attendant checked the oil level and cleaned the front windshield.
Then convenience stores with gas pumps became popular, but they weren’t full service stations. Customers had to pump their own gas which made prices cheaper. To compete, full service stations had to add self service pumps. Gradually, full service stations moved toward extinction. Just recently, the last one known to me closed its doors.
As Paul walked the streets of philosophical Athens, he noticed a plethora of gods. One was even entitled, “To the Unknown God,” just in case they missed one. Paul took the opportunity to tell them about a “full service” God. He was the One they didn’t have a name for.
Self service is the name of the game these days, and it’s certainly nothing wrong with doing something myself if I can and if it saves me money. If I don’t know how to do it, the chances are great I can Google my question and find directions on a YouTube video.
Some things, however, we need full service for. On these occasions, we need the full service God Paul preached about. Salvation is one. We can’t save ourselves. We can’t be good enough or work hard enough to measure up to God’s standards. He must apply His grace and forgiveness to our life.
As we are fully served by God, so He expects us to serve others fully in His name. This implies serving with the right motives and on every occasion He gives opportunity. If we don’t depend on His direction and strength as we serve, wrong motives will creep in and we may even gravitate to the point of thinking we no longer need Him—or that we can create service opportunities without His input.
Are you depending on a full service God, or have you become your own god?
Prayer: Father, may we always recognize our dependence on You.
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