Today we are going to start to wrap up this entire series going through the book of Hebrews. To do so, I have an illustration I would like you to keep in mind for today and tomorrow. Here’s the question to get us started:
I tend to be the one who drives in our family. Unless I’m sick or too tired, I drive. I was raised that way. It was generally my dad who drove our family around. When I was in a music group in college, I was usually the one that drove. Most of my life, as long as I’ve been able to drive, I’ve been the one that drives.
Do you want to know why? I trust me. I’m a pretty observant driver. I have taught myself to constantly observe the people on the road around me, watch my speed, think ahead. When it’s icy, I know to slow down. I test the roads when it’s safe so I know how slick it is. I watch out for trucks who don’t watch out for anyone but themselves. When someone else is driving, I don’t know if they’re an observant driver or the kind of driver who crosses three lanes of traffic to take an exit without checking their mirrors. And, when you’re in a 4,000 pound piece of machinery hurtling down the road at 75 miles per hour, I’d rather not find out the hard way that you’re the kind of person who likes to text and read and watch netflix and put on makeup and drive.
So, I tend to do most of the driving. And so far I get my family or other passengers where they need to go in a safe manner.
Now, everyone else’s ability to arrive safely is dependent on my ability to drive safely. They have very little control over their journey. They get in, buckle-up and get out when we arrive. If they want to go somewhere besides where I’m going, they’ll have to find another way to get there.
Because our destination is predetermined. Based on our family plans, I have decided in advance where we are going to go, how we are going to get there and how many stops we are going to make along the way.
Back to our question. Who’s driving. Hebrews 12 covered the idea of the two mountains. The one no one could touch and the one we are invited to because of Jesus. And we talked about how too many of us are experiencing vicariously that which we were meant to experience personally. Instead of going up the mountain so we can be in God’s presence for ourselves, we let someone else do it and experience their firsthand experience secondhand.
Too many Christ-followers are getting their encounter with Jesus as the secondhand store. Does it still have value and use? Sure. But, it’s not as good as it was when it was new.
Now, let’s imagine that when you put your faith in Jesus, he gives you a car. It’s not a luxury vehicle, it’s a utility vehicle. It’s designed specifically to for the journey you have to take to get to Him. He knows what lies ahead, what we’ll need to get there and has perfectly designed our car to make advantage of our strengths and compensate for our weaknesses so that we arrive at the final destination.
Another way of describing this vicarious experience is, we’re all passengers in a car we were meant to drive. It’s like Jesus gives you a car that was specifically designed for you. With your strengths and weaknesses, gifts and purpose in mind, Jesus gives you a car to drive that will get you to Him.
But there’s a catch. You have to drive it. No one else will fit in the driver seat. But, we don’t always feel like driving. So, what we do is we get out the tow straps, put the car in neutral and hitch our car to someone else’s car. We’re still technically on the journey, but our car is in neutral and the engine is off. We’re not driving, we’re being driven.
And to be honest, that’s the best case scenario. Because that assumes we’ve hitched our car to someone following Jesus. Sadly many Christians have inadvertently hitched their cars to the jelly of the month club, aka what’s popular right now. So, the primary thing driving the car isn’t someone pursuing the mountain, it’s someone pursuing pleasures and treasures in this life.
I don’t know if you know this, but tractors don’t have the same odometer as cars do. Hang with me, we’re going somewhere. Tractors don’t count the number of miles the wheels have traveled. Tractors count the number of hours the engine has been running.
What if, in the Kingdom of God, it’s not about the miles you’ve driven on the journey, it’s about the hours your engine has been running? I mean, Jesus has marked out the trail for us. So, our job isn’t to chart the course, it’s to follow Him. I don’t think our job is to travel a certain amount of miles to get to Jesus. Our job is to have our engine on, have the car in drive and just follow Jesus. As long as the engine is running and the car is in gear and we haven’t abdicated our responsibility to sit in the seat God made for us, we will arrive at the destination.
So, I guess a more accurate question might be: Is your engine on and who are you following?
Tomorrow, we’ll wrap this illustration up, but for today, I encourage you to ask yourself: “Have I been driving the car God made specifically for me? Or have I hitched myself to someone else’s journey?”