FULL AND EMPTY
When we prepare to go on an automobile trip, one of the first things we usually check is the fuel supply. Are we full or empty. Obviously an empty tank will bring us nowhere, but a full tank can mark the beginning of our long journey.
We enter this world as an infants who begin the journey of life with a full tank. When we are baptized in Orthodoxy by triune immersion, and sealed with the gift of Holy Spirit, then our spiritual tank becomes full and we are ready to continue to continue our journey to the next life. To fill our spiritual tanks we need to listen to Christ and receive fuel and help. Our journey’s destination is to live according to Christ, keeping His commandments, for we were baptized into Christ and have put on Christ and will be all be judged by Christ when we leave this world, and we will enter the final life with our spiritual tanks, empty or filled .
If our spiritual tank is empty, we will only find emptiness and a sorrowful end to the next life for it will be lonely and we will be found empty and unable to escape the terrible punishment. For we have received life in this world for a specific purpose, not just for pleasure, and although most people do not fill their spiritual tanks with spiritual gifts, there are many whose spiritual tanks are overflowing with various good works and virtues.
The Lord spent three years teaching us what we must do and if we fail to respond, our future life will be shallow and our future will be completely empty of every good thing. On our journey through this life to the next life we need to serve the One who will judge us which is Jesus Christ. We have do not have control over the end of our life which can come upon us at any time with or without warning.
Our spiritual tank rests in our heart wherein are stored all our likes and dislikes, all our desires, and all our hopes. If this is empty of faith, hope and love for Christ and His disciples or brethren, it will be filled with unbelief, full of despair without love for Christ and His brethren. Attending church is good but does not fulfill our needs for we need to be full of Christ and empty of all evil, our tanks filled with virtue and empty of vices. That is the reason the Church ordains prayer, fasting and almsgiving. This cannot just happen but must be the deliberate choice and action on our part for we must use our God-given freedom to choose good and reject evil. So let us fill our spiritual tanks with Christ while we are yet able in this present world, for in the future world it will be too late.
The Lord speaks of the last judgment over which He, as King, will preside. He explains exactly what the end of our journey entails. “He shall separate them as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats, and He shall place the sheep on His right and the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on His right hand: Come you blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared from the foundation of the world, for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you took me in; naked and you clothed me; sick and you visited me; I was in prison and you came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer: Lord when did we see you hungry
and fed you? Or thirsty, and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and take you in? Or naked, and clothed you? Or when did we see you sick and in prison and came unto you. And the King shall answer and say unto them, Amen, I say unto you, inasmuch as you have done it unto one of the least of my brethren, you have done it unto me” (Mat. 25:32-40).
Our spiritual tank gets fuller and fuller with every good that we do and Christ teaches that we will be judged according to what we have done. This does not mean the feeding of any personas many teach. Christ specifically limits the good acts mentioned to His brothers, saying: “Inasmuch as you did it unto the least of my brethren, you have done it to me. So it is restricted to Christ’s brothers. But who are Christ’s brothers? “”While He yet talked to the people, His Mother and His brethren stood outside desiring to speak to Him. Then one said unto Him, Behold, your mother and your brethren stand outside, desiring to speak with you. But He answered and said unto him that told him: Who is my mother? And who are my brethren? And He stretched forth His hand toward His disciples, and said. Behold my mother and my brethren! For whoever shall do the will of my Father who is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother” (Mat. 12:46-50).
The righteous who are welcomed are those who listened to, supported and cared for the disciples of Christ, and not just for men in general. So our spiritual tanks must be filled with the good that we have done to the disciples and preachers of the true and Orthodox Faith. If our spiritual tank is empty we will be cast out from the right side and placed on the left, where punishment awaits us.