I’ve recently enjoyed one of parenting’s greatest experiences… teaching a teenager to drive! Let me just say that it does wonders for your prayer life. Actually my girl did great, especially considering she had little to no experience driving any motorized vehicle before getting behind the wheel. But there were a few things that occurred to me during our adventures that I think may have broader application.
One of the things I encouraged her to do was to focus on doing everything purposely smooth. Let me explain. Jack rabbit starts, abrupt turns and sudden stops do not make for an enjoyable ride. It also causes unnecessary wear and tear on your vehicle. Gas mileage suffers, tires and brakes need replaced more frequently and other components endure excessive strain. Beyond all that it increases the probability that you will have an accident.
You know the same thing applies to life. I’ve observed hundreds if not thousands of people over the course of more than two decades in ministry. I’ve noticed that people who take thoughtful and intentional actions do better than those who make rash decisions.
“Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’ “Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples. “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out. “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”” - Luke 14:25-35 NIV
In other words slow and steady wins the race… and saves wear and tear on the vehicle… and avoids accidents… and makes for a more enjoyable ride. Cars are meant to be driven just like lives are meant to be lived. A follower of Jesus who does not serve their brothers and sisters in Christ and their community is like an un-driven car. But a disciple who tries to do everything only to burn out and quit is like car that has been driven into the ditch. Both are going nowhere and both have lost their saltiness.
Do something, do it well and do it consistently. It works when it comes to driving. It also works when it comes to your health, your family, your finances, the Kingdom and well just about everything else. Small adjustments over the course of time make huge differences and keep us on the road and moving forward.
Be safe out there and just one more thing… don’t forget to use your signals!