This morning as I was getting ready for church I accidentally discovered something about water bottles – you know, the plastic half-liter bottles you can buy anywhere these days.
I picked up a half-full bottle and was carrying it back to my office and absent-mindedly tossed it into the air as I was walking. Much to my surprise, it didn’t spin as I had expected it would. It just sort of flopped. Thinking I had not put enough spin on the bottle as I tossed it, I tried again and got the same results.
Then I tried it with a full bottle, and it spun just as expected. Then I tried it with an empty bottle and once again the bottle spun as expected. It seems that if the bottle is either full or empty, it spins just fine. It is only when it is half full, half empty that it fails to spin and just sort of flops around.
Either full or empty. That reminds me of something I read in the book of Revelation. Let me share it with you. Revelation 3:14-16 says “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. I know your deeds that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm — neither hot nor cold — I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” (NIV)
Peter, the disciple, is a good example of someone who is like the full bottle. He is filled with spirit and enthusiasm. Peter was willing to do anything Jesus asked of him. Remember the night out on the lake when Jesus came walking across the water to join them? Peter was the one that got out of the boat and briefly walked on water. He gave it a try.
Many of the church leaders of Jesus’s time were like the half-full bottle. They believed. They were devoted to serving God, and in fact, many of them had dedicated their entire lives to doing just that. But they wanted to do it on their terms. They wanted a well-behaved, silent and mostly absentee God. In John chapter nine, they missed the miracle of Jesus’ restoring the blind man’s sight because they were fixated on the letter of the law instead of being open to the spirit of the law.
God wants us to answer his call, to become a part of his triumphal band of disciples. But we can only do that when we are filled with the Holy Spirit. So, if you are feeling a little empty spiritually, or feel like are stuck in a rut on your faith journey, then let me suggest that you stop by the church of your choice this Sunday and be refreshed and inspired.
John Fowler is the Pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Prosper.