10-16-17 Finish on Empty

Finish on Empty.

I had the pleasure and privilege of serving with 11 others on a Nashville mission trip over fall break. Our main focus for the weekend centered around the Stonebrook apartment complex on the south-side of Nashville. The majority of residents in Stonebrook are refugee families from different parts of the world. We built new relationships with families and especially connected with the children in the complex.

Klotzy gave our group three objectives at the beginning of the trip:

  1. Be all in
  2. Paint with Love
  3. Finish on Empty

Although each of these objectives were important for each day of mission, I want to focus on #3. Finish on empty. This motto kept our group focused and energized to keep going all day. Since we focused on children most of the weekend, we spent hours playing random games and running around. We gave more piggy back rides than I can count and spun so many kids around that we made ourselves dizzy. The kids never ran out of energy, so we kept playing soccer and Pacman (a special game on their tennis court). We told ourselves that no matter how much we wanted to rest, we could keep going because we didn’t want to go to bed with energy. We had to finish on empty.

After telling myself to finish on empty for the last 3 days, I thought about how often I finish on empty on a regular basis. How often do I go to bed exhausted to the point where I am asleep seconds after my head hits the pillow? Mission trips are often scheduled to keep people busy with little time to rest, but regular life offers days or hours where you don’t have to do anything.

Sleep and rest are important, especially for those of us who are athletes, but are you filling your day?

Do you feel satisfied when you go to bed at night?

Did you give enough today?

Could you have done more?

Going non-stop is not sustainable for anyone. If you are filling every second of the day 24/7, you are going to burn yourself out. You need rest and sleep to recharge, but that doesn’t mean you should avoid opportunities to fill your life or the lives of others.

I know that I don’t go to bed feeling satisfied with the effort I give each day and I guarantee that I am not the only one. We have days where we go to bed with fuel in the tank. We fall asleep with potential that can’t be used again. You will never get yesterday back.

Each day has an expiration. Are you going to finish today on empty?


Make a sum: add to the lives of those around you, don’t take away from them.


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