rev-joaquin-willis_web.jpgThe gas-fueled automobile, Henry Ford’s 19th-century invention, spawned the filling station, and elevated oil to its coveted status.  As autos became indispensable, so did oil, giving rise to a costly addiction.
There is something about human nature that creates cravings, insatiable hungers symptomatic of unmet needs.  Without doubt, the “empty places” in human lives can only be filled and completed with the presence of Christ.

In Exodus (16:3), the Israelites cried, “If only we had died in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted.” As Christians, we can be sated, yet crave more food.  We can be rich, yet pursue more money.  We can possess love, yet desire more of it.  Satisfaction, we find, comes only through God.  In the wilderness, it was God who sent manna and quail to curb hunger. 

In Millionaire Moses, Catherine Ponder shares five ways of gathering manna that lead to prosperity:    “First, the process begins by doing something fearless. Second, using what’s at hand to meet needs causes good will to multiply.  Third, blessing what is in hand increases it mightily.  Fourth, blessing another’s prosperity opens the way for increase to come to you. Finally, praying and speaking rich words of supply in the face of apparent lack increases abundance.”

Satisfaction comes when emptiness is filled with the fullness of Christ, with God’s love, and with the presence of the Holy Spirit.  Most emptiness derives from refusing Christ entry into our lives.  We must deliberately come to Christ, and must surrender all parts of our lives to God.

A craving for sustenance in our lives ends when we let Christ’s love take up residence in us.  Christ said (John 17:26), “He had made God known to us, in order that the love God had for Him, may be in us, and that He may be in us.” 

When Christ’s love fills us, the emptiness departs.  The Holy Spirit takes over, inhabiting our tears of joy, laughter, dancing and hymns of praise and thanksgiving.

We are fueled by God’s love.  1 John (4:16) states, “God is love, and whoever lives in love, lives in God and God lives in him.”  God’s House of Prayer is the “filling station” where we receive God’s love.  But God’s love is not a commodity, it is what He is, a gift we can claim and share with others. 

Christ’s love for us had a progression (Philippians 2:5-11). As God, Christ had the ability to refuse to become a man, yet He chose to walk the earth.  He had the right to be served, but He came to serve. He had the right to live in peace, but willingly endured the cross to give His life for us. Christ’s love for us was made manifest as He did His Father’s will.   

We drive into filling stations today confident of pumping pure gasoline into our tanks.  We must enter God’s House of Prayer similarly, with open and trusting hearts, ready to place the gas-hose of the Holy Spirit into the sockets of our hearts. 

A filling station is a perfect metaphor for a high-octane church, where God takes up residence in us, and energizes us, as Christ becomes our Lord and Savior. When we receive Him, we are able to eliminate our cravings for temporal things, and become blessedly filled with the Holy Spirit. 

The Rev. Dr. R. Joaquin Willis is pastor of the Church of the Open Door at 6001 NW 8th Ave., Miami.  To contact the church, call 305-759-0373 or email the pastor at