I’m smiling as I remember my dad’s best efforts to teach me how to give my ’67 Chevy a tune-up.
That Chevy was the first car I ever owned, and my dad wanted me to learn a few things. I can honestly say that almost nothing I learned is helpful to car maintenance now. No one I know owns a timing light or changes their own spark plugs and filters. In fact, I don’t even know where the spark plugs are in my car today! Now, I drop my car off at the dealer when the “Maintenance Needed” light comes on.
I’m smiling because there are more important lessons I learned from my dad’s advice. Dad helped me understand maintenance was important if I wanted to keep my car in good shape. In a lot of ways, my dad helped me write this blog post today.
We understand our cars need maintenance. We spend the time and pay the cost because we don’t want to get stranded somewhere. We can apply that same principle to our souls as well.
If your life is sluggish and not responding to God’s will, you might need a spiritual tune-up today.
WHEN MAINTENANCE IS NEEDED
It would be nice if something in our lives would flash with the words “Maintenance Needed” like our cars do today. We are a lot more like a ’67 Chevy. We have to notice the sluggishness, the slowness to start, and the “wrong noises” that indicate the need for a tune-up. My dad could just listen to engine noises and know there was a problem, and he usually knew how to fix it.
It would be nice if there could be a “Maintenance Needed” light that would flash in our spiritual lives, but there are indicators:
• Has your witness grown sluggish?
• Are you a little more difficult to “start” when the Spirit prompts you?
• Is your prayer life making some strange noises . . . maybe a little too full of self-absorbed rattles and clunks instead of purring along?
It’s better to fix the problems we notice than break down somewhere.
God created our souls to run like a perfectly tuned engine: “You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9). We are God’s possession and he wants to keep us running well. But, he also waits for us to respond to the warnings and bring our cars to the shop!
THE DEALER HAS THE BEST SERVICE DEPARTMENT
A lot of places can do routine maintenance. It’s fairly easy to find someone who can change wiper blades, replace an air filter, or rotate the tires. But, if something inside the engine is not working, we know the dealership has the most specialized care.
We take our souls for weekly maintenance to church or Bible study each week. Don’t you notice how much easier it is to treat people with kindness and put others first after spending time in worship? We are cleaned up and running more smoothly after a helpful sermon and time of worship.
Routine maintenance is essential to almost everything in life. Our souls were meant to run on “daily bread,” our time with God each day. If you are reading this blog post, you are probably someone who understands that we need to keep our souls maintained by the daily disciplines of Bible study and prayers. The daily maintenance means we can keep our lives running more smoothly, and Sundays are a great boost to our daily routines. But, there are times when things in life require more help than our routines provide.
My car has a need for significant maintenance at certain mileage markers. It’s expensive, time-consuming, and rarely “good news.” But, I pay the price because it almost guarantees I will avoid the breakdowns. When the dealer tells me I need to do significant maintenance, I do it.
Our Dealer knows what is needed in our lives. He manufactured us and knows what is necessary to keep us running. It is good to know we need regular maintenance and care for our souls that way. But, when was the last time you submitted your soul for the more complete work, the work that only the dealer can accomplish?
That kind of maintenance will come at a cost. It will cost you more time and effort and will be more of a sacrifice than just a Sunday morning service or daily devotions. When is the last time you left your regular routine to spend a significant time away with the Lord?
If things aren’t running smoothly in your life, it could be time to take more time and submit your life to the One who created it.
Jesus was preaching, healing, and creating a great stir in the synagogues. The Pharisees had begun to take notice of him and Luke wrote that “they were filled with fury and discussed with one another what they might do to Jesus” (Luke 6:11). Jesus, our example, knew he needed God’s divine wisdom and help. Luke writes, “In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God” (v. 12).
Even as I type those words I feel a sense of conviction. When last did I retreat from the world and my daily routines to spend an extended amount of time with God?
Is it time for the “extended maintenance?”
The dealer/manufacturer will need us for more time in order to do more work, and it will require a greater cost. But, have you ever noticed how much better your car runs after those times of maintenance? Our souls will experience greater benefits as well.
ONE CAR WILL LAST A LIFETIME
I’m not sure how many cars I will drive in my lifetime. I was in my forties when I bought my first new car. I kept it a decade, did all the suggested maintenance, and it never did break down. I’m now driving my second version of that car! My ’67 Chevy will always be dear to my heart because it was my first car and I worked hard to be able to buy it. But, I’m glad I can drive a better car these days, and I am careful to take good care of it.
We only have one soul because that is all we will ever need. The first choice we ever made was to allow Jesus to buy our souls back for God, from the world. But, for the rest of our lives, we will choose to maintain what Jesus bought and has promised to continue to make new.
We have been given one life, but it is all we need if it is eternal. I’m so glad I exchanged my old ’67 Chevy for something better. I’m glad I exchanged my old life for something better as well. My soul is eternal, and I want it to run as well as possible on earth and in heaven. I’m glad for the warning lights that remind me when maintenance is needed. It’s good to know life will run more smoothly with his care.
The Apostle Paul wrote, “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6). One day these cars of ours will roll through the pearly gates and we will realize they are “maintenance free.”
Until then, we need help from our mechanic. He is waiting to care for our souls. Do you need to do some routine maintenance or schedule an extended visit? He is always at work and always able to get you back on the road.
But, we also have a lot to look forward to. One day when our journey is complete, it will feel great to pull into the garage, see my dad and my Dad, and know I am safely and forever, home!