Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Now, Where's That Spare Tire?

Do you hate flat tires as much as I do?  I hate having a flat tire or even a tire that is losing air and requires constant monitoring.  I hate having a flat tire so much that I replace my tires when they have about as much mileage on them as they are said to provide.  Part of the reason that I hate having flat tires, besides the inconvenience of it, of course, is that I hate using the scissor jack that is provided in cars nowadays rather than the good ole fashioned pump jack that used to be in all cars.  The scissor jack requires you to find just the right place to put it in order to use it.  If you put it elsewhere you will damage something under the car that is needed to drive so you will have a bigger problem than a flat tire if you don't put it in just the right place.

I had a flat tire on my present car a few years ago.  I was driving along in the country trying to get home from going to the grocery store.  I noticed the low pressure light (which I hate almost as much as having a flat tire) and knew one of my tires was low but since I was in the country far from a source of air I had to keep driving.  Suddenly, I knew the tire was going flat and began to steer to the right and seeing a driveway to the left decided to go there instead.  The driveway belonged to one of my church members and I thought he may help me with the tire.  It turned out that no one was at home so there I was with a flat tire in his driveway.  So, I hauled out the scissor jack and the spare tire (which is one of those new "donut" tires designed to go a short distance) and began to try to find the place where the jack fit underneath the car.  I reached my hand around here and there trying to feel a pocket designed to hold the jack and could not find just the right place so I opted for one that I thought would hold the jack and not damage the car.  So far, so good---I turned the jack handle again and again trying to get it high enough for me to take off the flat tire when suddenly the jack fell and the tire and rim hit the ground.  Then I was stuck for sure.

I called a few church members and finally one came to my rescue with his old fashioned pump jack and we got the tire changed.  The only thing worse would have been if my spare had been flat but the little guy was all aired up and ready to go and carried me home.  The next day I went to the local car dealership where we get our tires and replaced that tire and soon replaced the others in the set.  I just got a new set of tires a couple weeks ago in preparation for an upcoming trip and I am counting on them taking me where I need to go with no problems.

Spare tires are like a lot of things in life.  We do not think about them until we need them.  They are a lot like some people in our lives.  We do not think much about them until we have a need for them.  The policeman, the fireman, the dentist, the doctor, the lawyer, the tax accountant, maybe the minister...all fit into that category.  We rock along in life and do not even think about calling on one of them until we need one of them.  When there is a break-in, a fire, a tooth that hurts, a letter from the IRS in the mail, a death in our family, then we call the person that we think knows a lot about what is bothering us.  We want an expert opinion about that area of concern in our life at the present moment and we know who to call to get the help.
Some people even see God as a spare time, not giving much thought about God or the importance of knowing a bit about God or even having a relationship with God until a problem appears in their lives and suddenly they wonder where God was when the issue popped up in life.  The doctor calls with the feared diagnosis or the funeral director calls and says to meet with him or the letter comes in the mail telling us to get ready for the audit...then some people decide they may need a source outside of themselves to deal with life's problems.

If I see God as a spare tire, then I only need God when that flat tire of life happens, when things go flat for me.  If I see God as a part of my life, a part with whom I interact regularly, then God is part of a relationship that I have.  If God is important to me and to my daily living, then I will want to be with others who also are part of the family of God for they are part of my life and living also.

Church attendance is not a required activity in life.  It is a voluntary act, something that people want to do or be part of.  Going to church has to give a person some intrinsic satisfaction in order for it to continue.  Being with others who also see church attendance as satisfying builds relationships that provide sources of help during the times in life when things seem to go flat.  Don't wait until the tire goes flat to look for the spare...have one in reserve at all times, so that you have something to fall back on when times get rough.  God is always present, a very present help in times of trouble, the psalmist said.  God provides neighbors to help one another and to be God's hands in action when we need to find a human to call upon.  

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