The other day I was driving home in the rain, and by California law, I had to have my lights on during daylight. It’s a safety thing; one can see a vehicle farther in the rain with the lights shining. I parked my truck, entered the house, kissed my wife, and played with the dog. It didn’t even occur to me that I had left the van lights on. Mind you, I drive a monster van. It is a commercial vehicle with two sizable batteries. It is designed for abuse, but it was no match for an entire night with the headlamps on and the engine off. Early the next morning I bounced outside, opened the door, turned the key, and…nothing—not a squeak, a grunt, or even a slight thud. I looked at the headlight switch, and it was on. I had left my lights on, and the battery was dead. I quickly reentered the house, announced to my wife my stupidity, and asked to borrow her car. I went to the garage and took out the aged battery charger that had helped me faithfully in the past, and attached it to the useless batteries. When I turned it on, the charging gauge immediately flipped to high. I knew it would take all day to recharge the batteries. The next day I removed the charger, restored it to its place of honor in the garage, turned the key, and was greeted by the sweet sound of a running engine. All was well.
I read Genesis 1 the other day. Verse 5 reads: “And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.” Interesting…God seems to start His day with the evening. In fact, He uses that phrase six times in the same chapter. In Psalms 55:17, David testifies: “Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and He shall hear my voice.”
It seems we have lost something in the Western culture; we start our day at sunrise while God and the eastern culture start their day at sunset. We of the Western mindset consider production and then rest, while God puts the emphasis on rest then production. It seems that God emphasizes preparation and then productivity. My battery reminded me of that simple truth; I had to charge it before I could use it.
In my Christian life, I am expected to serve my God with all my heart, soul, and mind. My responsibilities as a Christian school teacher demand that I shepherd my flock daily with due diligence. I must constantly “produce” a godly influence and be always ready to “give an answer to any man”. A key to longevity would seem to be “charge it before you use it.” If you try to do anything for God, you will naturally have to run your spiritual battery down. You will need a new charge if you are to do any more for the Christian cause. I have found that I can charge my personal batteries in several different ways.
If the day starts with sunset, then it is important to get the proper rest. I try to have my things and life in order, and then get a good night’s rest. It is impossible for me to keep up with the energy of a hundred active teens without getting a good night’s sleep. I wake with my energy level at 10.5 and am ready and eager to take on anything my students plan to pass my way. I get far more accomplished on a freshly charged battery than ever on a weary one.
Sunday is critical. Going to church and good preaching lifts the soul. It pushes the reset button. I do my best to bring an empty cup to church, and every time I lift it up, God renews and fills my soul.
Good Christian music rebuilds my stamina. When my soul needs a lift, I get great energy from listening to the right songs and hymns and spiritual songs.
Good friends recharge my soul. There are the Encouragers who are always ready to praise one’s efforts. There are others I call Challengers who are always doing something awesome; these motivate me to do something as well. There are the Examples who encourage me by their fervor and steadfastness. When I fellowship with these Christian friends, my soul receives a double charge.
Time off is critical for me. It is not so much a day to sit around; it is a day to focus my interests on other needs. It is the time to take a family holiday, a time to work around the house, a time to visit friends or relatives. I often choose to spend some time soul winning and work my Sunday school class on my “day off”; sometimes I do some school work on those holidays, but it is because I want to, not because I have to. It is good to take a personal holiday once in a while also. We are blessed in this nation with an extra day off almost every month. A day off and a change of pace will rest, refresh, and renew my spirit. With my battery fully charged, I look forward to the next morning and what God may have in store for me that day.
A battery will serve faithfully until the charge is fully used. A dead battery can do no work, but the battery can be recharged and serve again. We are like that battery and need to be renewed to continue to serve at full capacity. “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings as eagles. They shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31. May God grant us the wisdom to renew our batteries and run the race that is set before us.
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Jim Carey was the first staff member hired by Pastor Trieber in 1976. For over 40 years, he has served in many capacities. He has taught in the Christian school since its inception and has taught junior church every Sunday for that entire time as well.