Today’s Monday’s Marinate we explore a bit of nostalgia. Like prehistoric dinosaurs, some things become extinct. A seemingly good idea gets side-lined for something new and improved – even when said improvement isn’t readily evident.
Some readers might not know what I’m talking about in the title reference, “Fill ‘Er Up”. The phrase stamped out of our everyday use. Words spoken as common now elude.
For those slightly less seasoned than I, the phrase “Fill ‘Er Up” was a common request my mother made as she pulled her car into the gas station. She wasn’t the only one. It was the industry standard. Service. Full-service.
We’d drive over the black hose snaked across the pavement near the gas pump. Ding. Ding. Ding. Ding. Quick and successive, the bell chirped and alerted the gas station attendant he had a customer in need of service.
In those days, folks didn’t pump their own gas. Instead they pulled into the station, rolled the window down (because after all it was also well before power windows), hung their head out the driver side door, and said to the man in the grease stained coveralls, “Fill ‘Er Up”.
The man with the hands smeared and smelly from oil even after he attempted to wipe them clean with the blue cloth waving from his back pocket. He obliged the customer’s request as he hopped to it in the hopes of getting a good tip.
Before the days of pumps with auto shut-off, one of the gas station attendant’s primary jobs was to ensure the fuel didn’t overflow onto the pavement. He would pump the fuel, filling the tank to its’ fullest measure. No combustible drips dropping, wasted and waiting for a spark to ignite. Every drop drank in by the muscle cars of the day in need of power, ensuring high performance.
Not only did the attendant pump your gas, he checked your oil and washed your windows. Your vision no longer obstructed by days’ worth of bug gunk. Fluid levels topped off to ensure you arrived safely to your destination. All was well. All functioned well within the full-service world.
You didn’t pay with a credit card. You paid with cash. No bill to greet you in the mail. Dollar bills and coins handed over to the attendant who clicked the masculine version of a change purse as he counted back the difference. After all, a dollar got you quite a bit of gas in the 1960’s – 3 gallons for one diminutive dollar.*
By the time the 1970’s rolled around, gas prices ping ponged their way up. Perhaps rising prices are what drove the full service station to its place of all but extinction. There are a few relics out there in rural America, but for all practical purposes we have parted ways with the full service station.
During the transition from “how can we help you” to “do it yourself”, I was in grade school. I remember teaching my mother how to pump gas. The gas station we went to was located on one of the main streets in town. I remember us giggling a lot over this whole gas pumping predicament. There were many potential observers to witness our “how to” session.
Remove the gas cap and set it on top of the pump (and pray you don’t drive away and forget it until someone invents the future cap connection that allows the cap to hang on to the car for dear life).
Take the pump off the handle. Insert the handle into the tank opening. Flip the gas pump lever down to engage the pump. Press the nozzle while it’s inserted into the tank and there you go, gas guzzling into the empty tank until it is full. Self-service simplicity. Slow, painfully slow pumping to grow our patience.
There are times I long and hope for the return of the full service gas station. Days when torrents of rain tear open the sky and I realize there’s nothing left in the tank, I desire my full-service friends’ return. I know it would cost more to receive the service, but the price to pay during a storm seems well worth it.
Full service gas stations are all but a thing of the past. I can hope for their return all I want, but that’s probably not going to happen. I must pump the gas myself or pray that my husband continues to do it for me as a sweet act of service. (Oh, I appreciate his filling my gas tank! No stinky fumes on the fabric of my clothes – or absorbing into my skin.)
Our gas tanks are not the only vessels in need of filling.
So often, it is us. We are in need of filling.
Unlike gas tanks, our filling does not come from self-service. God attends to our needs; He is full-service—and always will be.
That doesn’t mean God is a genie in a bottle and will grant your every wish, but we can look to His promises and find strength in His power to sustain us through a storm.
We don’t need to get out of the car. We need to scooch over and get out of the driver’s seat. He’ll get us to our destination. After all, He has designed us for high performance. How much more will He ensure it?
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.—Romans 15:13 NIV
We can pull into God’s full-service station, lean out the window, and request “Fill ‘Er Up”.
He doesn’t need a bell to alert Him of our need. He is always with us. Always. He knows what we need.
His Word says He IS the God of hope.
Who among us does not need to be filled with hope? We all need to hang onto hope – especially through a storm. We need to know it’s not going to last forever. We need to know there’s a purpose for our pain (even when we don’t always know what it is). We need to know that our God is faithful. We need to know our God is a God of justice and mercy. We need to know God is sovereign and mighty. We need to know there is a plan and a hope for our future. Knowledge of these truths, even when we can’t see them, fills us with hope.
Hope is a belief for our future. What are you hoping for?
Ultimately, we are assured a future which resides for eternity with God if we are believers in Christ Jesus.
While we are waiting and walking with God to fulfill our eternal destiny, we can ask Him to fill us with all joy and peace as we trust in Him here on earth. All joy. All joy is possible. All peace. All peace is possible.
How are these achieved?
As we trust in Him.
Fear, doubt, unbelief, and dissention all drive away with our joy and peace. The One who makes our peace perfect says trust in Him.
God will fill your tank with peace and joy. As we keep our eyes fixed on Him, He makes peace and joy possible.
We need to trust that He will take care of us. We need to trust He loves us. We need to trust He will fill our tank to overflowing with His presence. He doesn’t want us pulling into the self-serve station, as the engine sputters almost empty and we attempt to fill our own tank. He wants us to partner with Him.
He says, I’ll help you, my child. Let me help you. When you are tired and weary, I desire to fill you up. I am the source of your power. I will give you all you need to accomplish all I have called you to achieve.
Unlike the flammable fuel that can combust, the power of the Holy Spirit does not let us explode. He fuels us. He spurs us on. Through His power we ignite a flame in others. We’re not consumed by other’s needs. God’s compassions never fail. It is the Lord’s love that fuels every person’s faith.
God may ask us to help wash off someone else’s “windows” from time-to-time, so that their vision is not obstructed. God wants them to see clearly all He has to offer through the overflow of hope He gives us. We let His hope splash onto others and pray that the flame of Christ ignites within them.
God’s love for all His children is great. His compassions never fail even when ours might falter.
Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail.—Lamentations 3:22 NIV
QUESTIONS & ACTIONS
- What do you hope for?
- How does God help you hang onto that hope?
- Do you experience joy as a believer? If not, how does this affect you personally? How does a lack of joy affect your ability to witness for Christ? How can you open yourself up to fully receive the joy God desires for you to possess?
- Do you trust God? Do you fully trust God?
- Lay these questions before God in prayer. Lord, do I walk in the fullness of the hope and joy you have for me here on earth? Do I trust you in a manner that is pleasing to you? Please reveal your truth to me, not my own perceptions. In Jesus’ name, amen.
*http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/remembering-what-a-buck-could-buy-in-the-1960s.html accessed 03-24-2014.