Here’s a story I find amusing and amazing. It is tradition that on New Year’s Day each year a parade is held in honor of the beginning of another year. The parade is named the Tournament of Roses Parade (in honor of the hundreds of different flowers on display each year) and is held in beautiful Pasadena, California. The parade is a festival of flowers, floats, marching bands, and the football teams competing in the Rose Bowl game later that day. Different companies or organizations usually sponsor the floats. One New Year’s Day during the Tournament of Roses, a beautiful float suddenly sputtered and quit. After several minutes, it was discovered that the float was out of gas. The entire parade was held up until someone could get a can of gas to refill the float. The ironic thing was that this float represented the Standard Oil Company, a large producer of gasoline.
The Standard Oil Company’s float didn’t have the power it needed to continue along the parade route. Can you imagine how embarrassing that must have been? Here is an oil company that spent millions advertising their product and who had vast supplies of gas at their disposal, yet they suffered a public failure.
However, before we get too cocky, maybe we ought to take a good look at ourseves. Of all the institutions on earth that people look to for hope and help, I would guess, the church is at the top of the list. The sad fact is that we don’t always live up to all the hype. Listen to the songs we sing that exalt the greatness of our God, and for good reason, yet when push comes to shove we often fail. The fault isn’t with God, nor what we say about Him, but with us. We fail to appropriate what He makes available to us and we fail, leaving us in an embarrassing situation. Success doesn’t depend on what we try to do, but what God does through us. It not our job to succeed, but to surrender. In doing so the Holy Spirit enables us to do what we could never do on our own. Without His empowerment we are running on empty, and you can’t get anywhere like that. Being filled with the Spirit is the fuel needed by every Christian to complete the course set before him. Without His aid success is impossible. With His help all things are possible.