Years ago, one of our cars was making a ‘click-ety-clack-ety’ sound. I was a youth pastor at the time, with 2 kids under 3, and we didn’t have a lot of extra cash to spend on fixing the car. Fortunately, one of my friends had experience working on cars. I told him what I was hearing under the hood and he said he’d take a listen and see what he could do.
As I pulled into his driveway, he could hear the sound and already had his suspicions. I stopped, popped the hood, and he checked the oil. I was about 4½ quarts low (which he seemed to think was a lot)! I still remember him shaking his head and saying, “I’ve heard that there were people like you in this world…” After the initial shaming, I bought the oil, we topped it off, and the clickety-clack-eting stopped.
Now, as you can probably tell from that story, I’m not a car guy. I own cars. I enjoy what vehicles do for me. I love not being limited to having to walk or ride a bike where I want to go, and transporting people and stuff is a plus. But I’ve never really been into working on cars, souping them up or getting my hands greasy to fix what’s broken. That’s too bad, because, in my experience, they tend to break.
I have changed my own oil a few times, and I’ve even helped change brake pads a couple times, but it took a long time, it was pretty messy, and it didn’t end up with the best results.
The problem is, since cars tend to need maintenance, and I’m not that good at it, I have to spend money to maintain my cars and fix what breaks. And at this point, you also need to know something else about me… I tend to be, let’s say, ‘frugal.’
So, there have been times when my vehicle has needed an oil change, or new tires, or a tune up, or brakes, and I put it off. Maybe you know how it is… The mileage says it’s time, but it’s not convenient… Or maybe there’s not a lot of extra cash… And it’s just not fun to spend money on car maintenance… So I’ve been known to wait. But I’ve learned over time not to do that. Vehicles don’t run forever without regular time spent with skilled mechanics to keep them running at peak performance. If I ignore the maintenance, it usually results in more expensive repairs later.
I’ve also learned over the years that my spiritual life needs maintenance. Sometimes I need a faith tune-up…and sometimes I need a full overhaul! Without regular time in the care of our Master, Jesus, problems spring up in my faith life, and they usually cause issues and damage that could have been avoided.
There are so many ways that I can fail in my spiritual life. It usually starts in my thoughts and my attitude. If I let those things fester, it can grow into something more sinister than I care to admit. I’ve discovered that regular spiritual ‘maintenance’ is the best way to keep those things at bay. Actively and intentionally spending time with God and in Scripture sounds so basic, and yet is avoided by so many people. We’re busy. It ‘costs’ us time and effort that we could put into other things. But if we don’t do it, things can fall apart pretty quickly.
What’s keeping you from going to God for your regular spiritual maintenance? Are you too busy? Or too ashamed?
What’s nice about God is that He doesn’t shame us when we come to him (like my friend did with my clickety-clack-eting!). No matter how long it’s been since your last spiritual ‘tune-up,’ God won’t hold it against you or think less of you. He’ll simply say, “I’m glad you came. Let’s take care of this...” And then, if you let Him, He’ll get to work under the hood of your life, making sure you’re running on all cylinders.
Proverbs 4:23 “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”
Psalm 139:23-24 “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
Ephesians 4:1 “As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.”