Faith, Uncategorized
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The Filling of Empty Things

I am participating in GypsyMama’s Five Minute Friday. Today’s Word: FULL.

Full. Filled.

photo by Bella Santos

We tend to be attracted to the idea of being full. Full of tasty dinner. Full of knowledge. Bank accounts full of money. A day full of fun activities.

I love my house full of my family, all happily home.

But empty. We tend to  stray away from emptiness. We never want to arrive to a potluck empty-handed. A zero balance in the savings account is, well, depressing.

Empty refrigerators, more so.

When the gas tank needle is on “E” we can’t go anywhere.

When it points to “F” the world is ours for the taking!

Most of the the time, we hover somewhere in between empty and full. We are balancing the midway point like tightrope walkers.

We rarely know the devastation of complete emptiness: loss of everything; complete bankruptcy of spirit, mind, body and wealth. We look at Job from the Old Testament, we look at the survivors of tragedy like the earthquake in Haiti. We see utter deprivation, but rarely, for those masses of us in Middle America, do we ever know emptiness.

The same goes for absolute fulfillment. We have moments of feeling filled up — great vacations (which ironically, means emptied), or retreats, those brimming first moments with a newborn, fresh from womb, miraculously breathing, living.

Oh, to be full — we long for it. But vacations end, retreats can’t last forever and babies, they grow. And as the milk comes in only to nourish another by being let out, shared, given freely, our fullness isn’t forever. It’s not meant to be.

Christians speak of being filled with the Holy Spirit. Interestingly, that phrase was only used by the writer, Luke, in the New Testament books of Luke and Acts (vine’s). {Paul uses a similar word in Ephesians 5:18, but it has different connotations}.

A little digging and I found this over at

Fill, Fill Up:

lengthened forms of pleo, “to fill” (pletho supplies certain tenses of pimplemi), is used

(1) of things; boats, with fish, Luk 5:7; a sponge, with vinegar, Mat 27:48 (some mss. have this verb in Jhn 19:29); a city, with confusion, Act 19:29; a wedding, with guests, Mat 22:10;

(2) of persons (only in Luke’s writings):

(a) with the Holy Spirit, Luk 1:15, 41, 67; Act 2:4; 4:8, 31; 9:17; 13:9;

(b) with emotions: wrath, Luk 4:28; fear, Luk 5:26; madness, Luk 6:11; wonder, amazement, Act 3:10; jealousy, Act 5:17, RV, for AV, “indignation,” and Act 13:45 (AV, “envy”). For its other significance, “to complete,” see ACCOMPLISH.

Boats with fish become empty, sponges get wrung out, wedding guest go home. Emotions ebb, wonder fades, jealousy rages. Whatever we are full of eventually empties.

Is that the intent? Is that why we’re compared to vessels, pots and bowls? Because we are filled to be emptied again?

What do we want to have spilling out from us? When I am so full to brimming, I will splash all around me–what am I full of? Am I full of the best stuff?

When I nursed my babies, I was comforted in the truth that the milk they took from me was the very best — complete, balanced baby nutrition. It came naturally — I didn’t have to actively produce it. But I did have to take care of what I filled up with, because another life, a life precious to me, depended upon it.

Other people depend on what I am filled up with, my nourishment becomes theirs. It’s the way we’re designed.

What are we filling up with today?


1 Comment

  1. I really like this post. It’s causing me to be thoughtful.

    I particularly like when you wrote,

    “When the gas tank needle is on “E” we can’t go anywhere.

    When it points to “F” the world is ours for the taking!”

    I will be chewing on your last question this afternoon.


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