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Must I Go & Empty-Handed?

There’s a story that is told of two old friends Joe and Mike. Joe and Mike had not seen each other in many years. After meeting, they had a long talk trying to fill in the gap of those years by telling about their lives. Finally, Joe invited Mike to visit him in his new apartment. “I’ve got a wife and three kids, and I’d love to have you visit us.” Mike said “Great. Where do you live?” Joe then said, “Here’s the address. And there’s plenty of parking behind the apartment. Park and come around to the front door, kick it open with your foot, go to the elevator and press the button with your left elbow, then enter! When you reach the sixth floor, go down the hall until you see my name on the door. Then press the doorbell with your right elbow and I’ll let you in.” Mike replied: “Good. But tell me what is all this business of kicking the front door open, then pressing buttons with my right, then my left elbow?” Joe exclaimed: “Surely, you’re not coming empty-handed!
Every day this week, even thinking back on our Bible study and worship, did we attempt to come to God “empty-handed”?

As we live from day to day before God, would He find us “empty-handed”? We find God throughout the Bible giving opportunities into the hands of men and women of faith who took hold of those opportunities and did wonderful things so they would not appear before God “empty-handed”. Rather diligent in service to glorify Him through those opportunities. Consider the instructions given to the Jews in the Law of Moses from Deuteronomy 16:16,17: “Three times a year all your males shall appear before the LORD your God in the place which He chooses: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, at the Feast of Weeks, and at the Feast of Tabernacles; and they shall not appear before the LORD empty-handed. Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD your God which He has given you.

There’s an old hymn written by Charles C. Luther entitled “Must I Go And Empty- Handed”: “Must I go, and empty-handed,” Thus my dear Redeemer meet? Not one day of service give Him, Lay no trophy at His feet? O the years in sinning wasted; Could I but recall them now, I would give them to my Savior, To His will I’d gladly bow. O ye saints, arouse, be earnest, Up and work while yet ’tis day; Ere the night of death o’er take thee, Strive for souls while still you may. “Must I go, and empty-handed?” Must I meet my Savior so? Not one soul with which to greet Him: Must I empty-handed go?”

One of those great Bible characters I think of who refused to “show up empty- handed” was David. As found in 2 Samuel 24, after David had sinned, he went to the threshing floor of Araunah to offer a sacrifice. David told Araunah that he was there, “to buy the threshing floor from [him], to build an altar to the Lord, that the plague may be withdrawn from the people” (24:21). Araunah offered the threshing floor and threshing implements as well as the yokes of oxen for wood saying, “all these, O king, Araunah has given to the king and Araunah said to the king, “May the Lord your God accept you” (24:22,23). David refused the generous offer of Araunah and said to Araunah, “No, but I will surely buy it from you for a price; nor will I offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God with that which costs me nothing” (24:24a). May we also have the same attitude, that as Christians, we will not offer our life a sacrifice (cf. Rom. 12:1,2) with that which costs us nothing. May we seize the many opportunities and abilities that God provides each of us to serve Him, so we do not go empty-handed! God’s hands have been full in providing so much for us, what will we do with ours? As Joe said: “surely you’re not coming empty-handed!

Some self-examining questions: “Have you put on the body of Christ in baptism as the scriptures teach?” [Romans 10:17, 10:10; Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15,16; Acts 2:38; Romans 6:1-6; 1 Peter 3:21]. Do not delay in bringing your life to Christ. I would love to help you, so you do not go empty-handed.

If as a disciple of Christ you have found yourself lagging in diligence rather than fervent in spirit, and you have allowed your hands to hang down doing other things rather than service to God, I also long to help you, to encourage you to “strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed” (Hebrews 12:12,13).

May we always find our hands serving, giving, loving, reaching with our feet going so we will certainly not go empty-handed before our Lord and Master who showed us a life full of love and service, giving His all for us.

Something to think about. Have a great week! – DJ 🙂

About Author

DJ Dickerson

Evangelist | La Porte Church of Christ

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