Filling Empty Things

Pastor and author Kyle Idleman did an informal survey via social media with just one question.

“Finish this sentence:  Jesus became real when . . .”

The hundreds of responses he received, some general (“I had no one else to turn to.”) and some specific (“My husband was killed in a car accident.”), could be wrapped up in this single response:  “I came to the end of me.”

Nowhere else in Scripture is this blessed emptiness portrayed more vividly than in Jesus’ Beatitudes, and The End of Me utilizes this passage as a launch pad for the truth that “blessings begin and fulfillment is found in the least likely place – the end of ourselves.”

Surrounded by Jews who prided themselves on measurable righteousness and embedded in a culture of Roman conquest, empiricism, and blustering ego, Jesus made the alarming statement that “taking inventory and coming up with zero . . . means we’re making progress.”  Now that I think of it, that message goes against our present-day mindset:

“We want to be made whole without having been broken.”

The problem is that we are all broken.  However, in Jesus’ upside-down kingdom, this is the pre-requisite for being comforted, inheriting the earth, and being satisfied, (Matthew 5:3-6).

Kyle’s three-sentence assessment of Western culture regarding pain is stunning:

“We do everything we can to stay away from suffering in the first place.  But when we do suffer, which is inevitable, we do everything we can to stay away from mourning.  Then, when we catch ourselves mourning, we do all in our power to make it go away.”

While we knock ourselves out trying to avoid neediness, the fact remains that, in his earthly ministry, Jesus was in the business of filling empty things:  jars of wine at the Wedding in Cana, a misspent life at a well in Samaria, a crowd of growling stomachs in a “desert place.”  What if we were to embrace the truth that our emptiness — our weakness, confusion, mourning, discouragement — “creates the space that God fills with his strength?”

The End of Me chronicles the way of the narrow gate — it leads to life!  Kyle Idleman helps his readers to see that what appears to be the end, may just be the beginning of something better, so in his unpacking of Jesus’ counterintuitive truth, I found myself smiling!  His bottom-of-the-page footnotes are incredible, and just a word of advice:  if you ever see him standing in line at a checkout counter . . . choose another line.


 

This book was provided by David C. Cook in exchange for my review.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Michele Morin

Michele Morin is a teacher, blogger, reader, and gardener who finds joy in sitting at a table surrounded by women with open Bibles. She has been married to an unreasonably patient husband for over 25 years, and their four children are growing up at an alarming rate. Michele loves hot tea and well-crafted sentences, poems that stop her in her tracks and days at the ocean with the whole family. She laments biblical illiteracy and advocates for the prudent use of “little minutes.” She blogs at Living Our Days, and you can connect with her on Facebook or Twitter.

11 thoughts on “Filling Empty Things”

  1. I love this review, Michele!

    This idea really draws and intrigues me, “Finish this sentence: Jesus became real when . . .”

    I may have to check out this book!

    Hope you have a wonderful weekend~
    Melanie

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Looks like a good one, Michele, thanks for reviewing. Love your reference to Jesus being in the business of filling empty things. Such truth. And, when He fills us, we’re never the same. ~ Merry Christmas, Michele. ((blessings))

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  3. Hi Michele!
    Your post caught my attention because Kyle Idleman is one of the teaching pastors at my church! Love his new book. Kyle is the real deal when it comes to challenging others to go deeper in their walk with Jesus. I count it a blessing to get to hear him preach at my church. Thanks for reviewing his book. Connecting with you today through Kelly Balarie’s #RaRalinkup. Blessings to you!

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    1. Lisa, thanks for letting me know! How blessed you are to sit under this kind of teaching week after week. I thought the book was amazing, and was so glad to have the opportunity to read and review it. Merry Christmas!

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  4. I needed to read this post today, and I probably need to read this book a few times. I was hit by this statement you made, “Taking inventory and coming up with zero . . . means we’re making progress.” How very counter-intuitive and counter-cultural! I find myself really struggling with the feeling of how my neediness puts other people out when they are depending on me. So I’m forever trying to hide my neediness and my brokenness and keep soldiering on. Thank you for this! I want Jesus to be more real even if this is what it takes!

    Thanks for sharing this at Booknificent Thursday this week! I hope you have a lovely Christmas Eve followed by the merriest of Christmases!
    Tina

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