Automobile gas tanks and our hearts

Brenda Cannon HenleyBy Brenda Cannon Henley
The one thing I loathe doing is taking the car to get serviced even if it is a minor oil change. Ted took care of all that when he was alive and all I had to do was get in and drive wherever I wanted to go. I noticed the other day when I was getting the necessary oil change is that the young man, though kind enough to me, came back to me three different times wanting me to change a filter, check on the purchase of some new wiper blades, and add one more thing that I have forgotten. I said no to all three. But what I caught was that there were two adult males in the shop waiting room and they did not offer them any extras. Just straight oil changes.

Ted taught me years ago to get only the oil changed if I had to do it for some reason, and, he, of course, took care of the rest of the maintenance. I stopped at a station and filled up my tank on the way out of town. I had never been to that particular station, but it looked new and clean and my gauge showed the tank was nearing empty. Not three miles down the road, my car, which has always been a jewel, started acting peculiar. It ran ragged sounding. Now, I am no mechanic, and I don’t know the proper terms, but it wasn’t right. I called my mechanic friend and he said could be bad gas or perhaps water in the fuel. A few days later, the check engine light came on and that really scared me because I knew that could be bad. Took the car to the shop and he could find nothing wrong.

In a few days I had used that tank of gas completely up and stopped to fill the car again. I happened to read on my gas cap while I was waiting that I should turn it only to one click to close it properly. I tried to think, “Had I been turning it two or more clicks to be sure?” Anyway, did what the instructions said, and with my regular gas from my regular station, I have not had a minute’s more problem. Just another lesson I am learning on this new journey of mine.

But as I drove, I started thinking. That gas tank with the apparent bad gasoline from the station I did not know had caused me problems, concerns, and downright fear. I don’t know what was in it or not in it, but it was not right. I do know that. This thought begin to roll around in my heart and in my head. The gas tank is very much like our hearts that we read so much about in Scripture.

We are told that what we store or put into our hearts is what ultimately will come out in conversation, deed, and life. “Out of the abundance of the heart, does the mouth speak.” (Luke 6:45) I read this verse in several different translations of the Scripture to see what I could glean. In the Amplified Bible, we read, “The (intrinsically) good man produces what is good and honorable and moral out of the good treasure (stored) in his heart, and the (intrinsically) evil man produces what is wicked and depraved out of the evil (in his heart); for his mouth speaks from the overflow of his heart.” (The best definition of “intrinsically” I could find is “basic and essential,” or “the natural elements”).

Think about it — Both men and women — When we sit around and bemoan all the bad things that have ever happened to us, mope about all of the unfairness and unkind ways we have been treated, covet what others have or are, dredge up the sad heartache over and over again of what we have lost, and blame everyone else for our own faults and failures, we are simply storing up ammunition for the devil to use on us in the future. We all must face reality in order to succeed, but constantly plotting and planning how to get back at others for perceived wrongs, how to hurt other people, or how to destroy projects and disarm good, then we are certainly heading for a life of doom and gloom. We will say things we really don’t believe and certainly do not mean.

I learned my lesson with the “bad” gas for my car. I will stick to the tried and true stations I know. I thank God that my little car was apparently not damaged. And, I have learned another valuable life lesson. Do not put anything in my heart that would wound and wear and possibly come out when I lease expect it. We must be conscious of our own growth and maturity each day of our lives.

Brenda Cannon Henley can be reached at (409) 781-8788, or


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