An Empty Bag

Nothing animates me more than to teach the abiding life of Christ—I love speaking and I love interacting and watching lights go on. But the first time I spoke took me by surprise! It was at the women’s group at Grace Bible Church in College Station, Texas, to about seventy-five women. It was a new and exciting chapter in my life, and I had a wild idea: I prayed for God to keep me humble. It was a pure prayer from a heart of love for Him, but what was I thinking?

I prepared fully, arrived at the event, and was introduced. As I walked to the podium to speak, I started to giggle. And giggle. And laugh. I could not stop. I managed to get through what I had to say, but I think I giggled throughout.  (Afterward, I said to the adorable young ministry leader, “I couldn’t stop laughing.” She said, “Yes, I saw you were tickled about something!”)

God had answered my prayer. He had humbled me. Not humiliated me, but drove home an indispensible point He likes to make to His children: He is God. And we bring nothing to the table but our willingness. I realize we have nothing without Jesus. We are nothing without Jesus. In us is no good thing, but His life in us is everything.

That was some fifteen years ago, and in those years I have often run ahead of the Lord. As He continues to teach me, I have often forgotten how much of nothing I have to offer without Him. Instead of bringing my own wisdom and knowledge, I try to do what Mike Wells always said, and “bring an empty bag.” When I forget, He just says, “Remember that time?” And I say, “Oh yes, Lord. Let’s not do that again! Whatever you want, we’ll do that!”

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