I am republishing some of my older blogs as my site New wine skins is closing. I hope you will enjoy these writings even if you’ve read them years ago:
When my grandpa was an old man, he got pulled over one night for a broken tail light in his pick-up truck. The officer, who had known my grandpa all his life, was stunned that he had never received a driver’s license. My grandpa lived through the great depression. He was a sharecropper at a tender age. He never finished school, and he never learned to read. How could he take the written exam?
The officer decided to just go for a drive with my grandpa on a trip. Afterward, if his driving went well, he’d issue him a license. Of course, he was a careful driver and passed, but times sure have changed. Missouri was one of the first to require a driver’s license in 1903, but South Dakota didn’t until 1959. Driving without a license today will get you in jail. Our cars require our attention. During this blog, I will compare us to a car.
A broken tail light or headlight is dangerous. Brakes that need to be repaired, even windshield wipers may not seem serious until it starts pouring rain. Our horn can cause an accident or prevent one. Ecclesiastes says, “There is a time to honk your horn and a time to remain silent.” Sometimes we need our horn. Sometimes it just makes a loud noise.
My husband and I went to dinner the other night. As we pulled into the parking lot, there weren’t any parking spaces close to the door. I noticed a car right across from the entry that was parked wrong– taking up two spaces.
I said, “Look how they parked. They caused everyone else to park wrong.”
He said, “There’s a sermon there.”
Whatever we do impacts those around us. It’s the ripple in the water. When we are angry, anxious, bitter, unforgiving, and impatient, we can significantly influence those around us. It works in the opposite manner too. If we are full of love, joy, peace, longsuffering, and keep no record of wrongs, we also affect those around us.
If I rear-end you in traffic, I can greatly harm your car and mine. If I slam my vehicle into one of your children, this doesn’t just impact your child. It distresses you too.
Miriam was put out of the camp for seven days and isolated for beeping her horn too loudly. God exposed her. When we speak negatively against another, we cause people to isolate the person or view them in a bad light. We plant seeds about their character. We can even plant seeds about their gift or assignment. Sometimes our license to drive is taken away from us, and we are removed from the road for a season because we were laying on the horn.
Not only does parking wrong cause a chain reaction but other things we do as well. If we want the person in front of us to go faster, and especially if they are in the fast lane, we may get as close to their bumper as possible. We aggressively are saying speed up. We are pushy, but do we do this in other areas? Yes.
What about when a car pulls out in front of us? We may have to slam on the breaks to prevent an accident. The guilty party in a wreck usually says, “I’m sorry. I didn’t see you.” Many times we don’t see or hear others because we are too focused on ourselves. Are we a better driver this year than last year?
Wrecks can happen in our relationships. Wrecks influence every car behind us and can leave others at a standstill. Jonah impacted everyone on the ship. They lost their cargo, but they also, in fear, prayed to Jonah’s God. The choice Jonah made to flee from his assignment caused the storm, not the devil. Maybe we all need to start becoming better drivers and obeying His road signs before we receive a ticket.
We yield at the stop signs instead of coming to a halt.
Have you ever been a backseat driver or tried to tell someone how to drive? Most of the time, people don’t like it. They have a route they are used to. People are afraid to take new paths–make new traditions. We are creatures of habit that have inherited lies. “Surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit.” Jeremiah 16:9. We throw out the olive tree and drag an evergreen in our house.
We want to drive our own way.
The more dents and wounds our car has, and the more wrecks we’ve been a part of, may cause us to get out of our vehicle for a season. We don’t feel like driving anymore. It’s hard out there on unpaved roads with potholes and construction zones.
Yes, this ole flesh of parking or driving any way we want, no matter how it affects everyone on the road, is not good.
How do we control our steering wheel? James says we can put bits in horse’s mouths and control them and also a ship but the tongue? Fuhgeddaboudit!
How much wood our tongues do kindle! Even our tapping fingers.
As I pondered the car space, I started thinking about our last vehicle, a Ford F150. I never could drive it well, and I never could park it. Many times when I parked it, my parking job looked like the car that had thrown everyone off. But what if someone passing by thought, “Look at them, they think their truck is all that!” And this is what we do. We assume. Even the car I saw and pointed out that had parked wrong may have had no choice because the car next to them was parked wrong.
We justify riding close to the person in front of us because, after all, what we have to do is important. We are trying to get somewhere, and our destination more important (sarcasm.) Even the car riding on our butt may be trying to get to a hospital before a loved one passes away. We ease off the gas to teach them a lesson when we might not have all the facts, but most of the time, it’s probably just rude behavior.
The person in the fast lane poking along might be zoning out. At times like this, we want to be in control of their car. We want to push them in the lane we think they should be in, even if they are driving the speed limit—even if they are getting off at the next exit. Our way of driving is best.
We even get offended when drivers don’t take our directions. Don’t we know the best way? Don’t we have all the truth? (Sarcasm.)
It is Abba who searches the engines in our cars. “For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.” 2nd Chronicles 16:9 NASB.
Completely His . . . not double-minded.
A heart that doesn’t have two opinions. It doesn’t have an olive tree and an evergreen. A heart that is separated from the world and the things the world does. The world drives hard and fast and has no patience for anyone. It’s pushy and loud. It can run people over for a Black Friday sale. It’s always riding our butts, and blasting out profane lyrics, and giving directions that lead to death. The world doesn’t take instructions. It closes its ears.
Regardless of these factors, my point is our parking job or driving can throw off everyone in our lane. So can our words or lack of them. I am guilty!
Have you ever been in a snowstorm that was so bad you found an 18 wheeler and stayed close behind it because it could light the way? Yeshua said, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness but will have the Light of life.” John 8:12 NASB.
Let’s all try and get in the slow lane and turn off the noise. Give people their space. Pray for those we love to find The Way. If our light is shining brightly for Him, we can act like that 18 wheeler amid the storm, and they will be drawn to HIM.
God has a GPS. When we follow His Ruach HaKodesh and His Word, He lights our path. His word is a lamp to our feet. Let’s all open the door and let the Authority inside our vehicles. He can show us how to drive better, safer, and softer. Let’s obey the traffic signs, and if we don’t understand them because we lack, perhaps He will send a teacher we can let in our car as my grandpa did.
May the Great Mechanic check our oil lamp and our engine light. When we allow Him to be in control, we are destined for greatness!
Photos: Unsplash–Black Friday by Tim Mossholder
Speed Limit: by Ludovic Charlet