Recently I heard a strange noise after leaving home to run a few errands. The noise changed as I drove faster, so I stopped and inspected my tires. A bright shiny bolt head protruded from my right rear tire. I dug out the spare tire from the bottom of the trunk and went through the process of changing tires. In my thirty years of driving experience I had replaced a flat tire twice, maybe three times. None-the-less I had quickly had the spare tire mounted and I was ready to drive away. That is until I fully lowered the car’s weight on to the spare and I saw that it too was soft. Having only gone a few blocks, I returned home, retrieved the bicycle pump, and inflated the spare tire to its specified pressure. Fortunately the spare held long enough to get the regular tire repaired and re-installed.
Many people go from day to day, thinking they have the resources needed to handle the occasional problems that fall onto the road of life. Most days go fairly well, so checking the status of those rarely needed resources seems silly. Like checking the pressure in my spare tire. The last time I had opened the wheel well (probably to stow my jumper cables) it still looked factory fresh. Some people may think, life is treating them well, and if they ever need God, they know where to look. They may say something like: “We have a Bible around here someplace and my church is around the corner, I can even tell you which Christmas I was there.”
As my spare tire needs to be checked, so it is always ready when needed, so too does our spiritual life need to be checked frequently to be fully ready. When my wife calls me on the phone she does not say: “This is Mrs. Shaw. May I please speak with Mr. Shaw?” No! She says, “Hi, its me,” and I know who is on the line just from the sound of her voice. By checking in frequently with God we can similarly recognize God’s voice and know that God recognizes our voice as well.
Amazingly regular spiritual exercises such as going to church and reading the Bible, actually makes life more enjoyable and healthier. Worship is more about giving thanks for what God has done, is doing, and will do, than apologizing for what has gone wrong or pleading for God to make everything right again. If daily Bible reading won’t fit into your schedule, try listening to a set of CDs. If a Bible study at church would be inconvenient, try talking with a few friends about what you are reading or listening to during lunch. At first your prayers might feel stiff and formal, but after awhile, prayer will seem like talking with a close friend. Having a close friend, especially one in the highest of places, is very good.
If you are already spiritually fit, perhaps you know someone going through life unaware that their connection with God has a slow leak.
Which reminds me, how long has it been since I checked the air in my spare tire?