Are You Running in Reverse?
I saw a classified ad recently that read like this: 1999 Ford Explorer, Eddie Bauer Edition, leather seats, power doors and windows, towing package, and looks great. Runs only in reverse—needs some transmission work.
Since I was looking for a used car at the time, I have to admit that the ad had me interested right up until runs only in reverse. When I read that, I thought I’d better pass.
But I wonder if a classified ad were taken out about our lives, or even the church, would it read that way? Are we like the car? Do we run only in reverse? Do we need some transmission work?
This mental exercise brought back a great memory for me from my college days. During my freshman year (why does everything happen to freshmen?), I went to my car one morning, cranked it up, put it in reverse, and backed out of the parking space at my dorm. Then I tried to shift it to drive when it just locked up — it wouldn’t budge. There I was, engine running and stuck in reverse. I couldn’t even get it back to park!
So, I did what any 18-year-old would do. I backed it all the way to the mechanic shop! It was across town, and the trip was quite an adventure, for sure. It took me about half an hour. The hardest part was trying to decide which side of the road to be on! The most awkward moments were when I came to red lights or stop signs. Lots of folks waved at me and were so friendly — especially the drivers of the cars that came up behind me at the red lights. We just sat there and looked at each other! When I arrived at the shop, the mechanic was laughing so hard at me that he couldn’t talk to me!
It was Paul who said, “Forgetting what is behind, I press toward the mark of the high calling of Christ.” I don’t think he means we shouldn’t remember what has happened before, but if the best years of our walk with the Lord are what is behind us, then we need some maintenance. And here is the surefire transmission fluid that will work for all of us. It’s found in Colossians 3:16, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.” If you are getting a steady supply of His Word, you won’t run in reverse. It’s that simple.
Sitting in my seat at LifeWay Worship, I am constantly challenged to keep our focus on where we are going and not just on where we have been. The history around here is wonderful for sure, and I’ve enjoyed learning more about it during my tenure here. I have a file of hand-written letters my friend Lewis Oswalt gave me, written by B.B. McKinney while he was head of the Church Music Department. This much I know about B.B. — he was a forward thinker. He wanted churches to do their very best in leading people through music ministry. I aspire to be that same kind of leader.
What about your work? Are you “stuck in reverse”? Spend time with the Lord, in His Word and in prayer, and ask Him to put you in drive!
A few weeks later I saw a different ad in the same paper. Donkey for sale—$150 or best offer. I’ll let you write your own devotional about that one!
Director, LifeWay Worship