Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Bad Mechanic

I have a friend who was having car trouble. He was hearing a 'tap, tap, tap' noise and could smell that it was running hot.

So, he took it to a mechanic that he had heard good things about. The mechanic was extremely busy, but he took a quick look at my friend's car. He told him that it was not really that serious. The car was low on oil and water. All my friend had to do was put in oil and water and the problem would be solved.

A few days later, my friend went back to the mechanic with the same problem. He could hear a tapping noise and smell that the car was overheating. The mechanic asked, "Did you put in oil and water like I said?".  My friend replied that he had not yet done it, but was planning on doing it today or tomorrow. "Well, you need to do it pretty quickly.", replied the mechanic.

A week later he was back at the mechanic complaining of the same problem. They had the same conversation. My friend had not put in any water or oil. The mechanic assured my friend that this was all he had to do, and that if he did it then his problem would be solved.

I saw my friend last week at the store. He was driving a different car. I asked him about it and he said that the engine in the old car was too far gone to do anything about and it finally just froze up and was beyond repair. He said that he had to get a new car. Then he said this:

"We tried everything to keep the old car going, we even took it to a mechanic."

This parable is unfortunately an accurate description of what I have experienced many times in the past thirty years of ministry. Couples will come to me for advice because their marriage is in trouble. The warning signs are everywhere. They know that if they do not do something then their marriage will end.

I listen to what is going on, and then using the Bible to find solutions I give them advice on how to apply certain passages to their lives. Passages such as how to forgive, what love is, the role of in-laws, how to handle money,  and the importance of communication. I hear what is going on and tell them what to do.

The next week, they are back in my office with the same problem. I ask if they have done what I said, and the answer is, 95% of the time, "No, but we are planning on it."

The scene plays out a few more times. They stop coming. They get a trial separation and then a divorce. Then they say this:

"We tried everything to keep our marriage going, we even tried counseling."

Did they?

This also happens daily, at least weekly, to almost everyone reading this blog.

Think about it.

We go to church with lives that need some type of change. It may not be radical, but let us be honest, we are not perfect and we can all become more like Jesus. We hear God's word taught. We listen to what is said. We nod our heads in agreement and may even mumble "Amen" as we write down our notes.

Then...we change nothing.

The next week the scene is repeated.
Decades later we are still listening to everything and changing nothing.

Honest Question: When is the last time that you CHANGED something in your life after going to church and hearing the Word?

Read that question again. I did not ask you when was the last time that you LEARNED something. When is the last time that you actually, practically, really CHANGED something in your life because of what you heard?

I once read, and after decades in the ministry agree, that the average adult Christian does not lead anyone to Christ or make any meaningful changes in their doctrinal beliefs three years after their conversion. The same book (I cannot remember it's title) pointed out that the average Christian makes no changes in their ethics or morality after the same amount of time.

So, for year after year we go to church or read our Bible and agree with what we hear...and change nothing.

If your life is not full of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, meekness, forgiveness, humility, wisdom, righteousness, compassion, truth, and passion, is it the 'mechanic's fault'?

Have you tried everything, even going to church?

Maybe it is time to apply what we hear...that could actually solve our problem.

Just a thought.


Ruth Kennison said...

Great post! There always exists the tendency to think "that message, or that teaching, would be great for somebody else", when we all need to apply the principles of Scripture to our lives each and every day.