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Empty so we can be filled

When something is hollow, it could be said to be empty, right? It has capacity inside that is just not filled up yet? A hollow barrel will have a resonance to it. Something extremely hollow, like a deep hole in the ground totally lacks resonance - we can throw a stone in it, but we may never hear it hit bottom - there is no "return" of sound to confirm the vastness of the hollowness. Some things are purposefully created hollow - such as a water pitcher, or the kitchen sink. They have a purpose in the way they were created, right? Guess what? So do we! We are created with a "hollow" deep within where God's Spirit is intended to fill us up. When this "hollow" is filled with anything other than his Spirit, the hollow may be "filled" but it often leaves us unsatisfied. Think about the kitchen sink for a moment. If it were filled with greasy, cold water, just how well could it accomplish its purpose of cleaning our dishes when we placed them in it? It is filled, isn't it? Yet, it is filled with something that is not going to allow it to fulfill its ultimate purpose - the hollow is consumed with something useless to us at the moment.

Remember, our Message is not about ourselves; we’re proclaiming Jesus Christ, the Master. All we are is messengers, errand runners from Jesus for you. It started when God said, “Light up the darkness!” and our lives filled up with light as we saw and understood God in the face of Christ, all bright and beautiful. (2 Corinthians 4:5 MSG)

Think about the gourd that dries out. A hollow is created in the drying process - in hopes it will produce a nice little maraca to shake. If we went to shake the maraca and only heard one small seed moving around in the hollow of the gourd, we'd probably say it was worthless to produce the music we desired to hear. The gourd looked like a maraca, but what was on the inside determined its value to the musician! Now, think about the "hollow" in our lives. We might fill it with all kinds of other "stuff" - things which fill our time, but leave us feeling like there was nothing of value produced in the end. We might find ourselves filled up, but just not able to accomplish what God intends for our lives. The hollow is meant to be filled - but how it is filled is more important than it being filled! Another translation of our passage above could go something like this: Our message is not about ourselves - our "hollow" has been filled with the hope of Christ. We are only "hollow" messengers who have been filled up! We are filled up with light - once there was only darkness - but now, we are filled to overflowing with light!

God creates us with a "hollow" - on purpose! Our "hollow" was not an oversight on his part, or because we did something wrong. It is there for a purpose. It is much like the glass blower who creates the pitcher with a hollow core - designed to be filled with refreshing substance. It is like the kitchen sink maker, who designs the sink to be a place for the cleansing of that which comes into contact with its "hollow" when it is filled to the brim! We have a "hollow" - but what have we allowed to fill the space? Are we like the gourds, dried out, but just not producing any real music from our lives? Are we like the kitchen sink - filled, but stagnant? Are we like the water pitcher, hollowed out and shiny - empty on a shelf, only to be admired for what it is "capable" of doing, but never really fulfilling the purpose for which it was created? Or are we allowing God to "fill" the hollow of our core with the goodness of his grace, the integrity of his love, and the joy of his peace? If so, we are likely "giving out" what it is that fills our hollow! Those filled with the good things of God's Spirit find the hollow constantly filled to capacity and overflowing! Maybe it is time to examine the "hollow" of our hearts. We might just find we have allowed some stuff into the hollow designed to be filled ONLY by God himself. If so, the hollow is not fulfilling its purpose - it is just filled. Sometimes the best thing we can do is to "empty out" the hollow and allow God to fill it with the good things he intends! Just sayin!

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