Mabey Memories

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The desire of my heart is to become the person God dreams of and share those dreams with others; to unleash personal and corporate creativiy within the church, overflowing it with passion and freedom while searching for the face and character of God.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Back seat, Front seat, Bumper

There he was, dangling from the bumper of a Chevy Truck. Not a care in the world, and a perpetual smile on his face. Who, might you ask, am I talking about? Well, driving to work the other day I pulled in behind this guy in his truck, and noticed that someone had tied Cookie Monster to the back bumper of his truck. There he was swinging away, and for a moment I was wishing I could switch places with him. Let me explain.

When I was young, I remember a night after my parents had picked me up from somewhere and, tired as I was, I laid down in the backseat of the car (before the days of seatbelt laws) to rest. I didn't fall asleep, but I remember having this feeling overtake me of complete safety and security. I was in the back, enjoying the ride, my father in the front, taking the responsibility of the wheel, and the family, and the home, and on and on. There comes a time in all of our lives when we move from the back seat to the front seat. For most of us, the thrill of getting our driver's license doesn't necessarily put us in the front seat automatically. The front seat comes with marriage, and kids, and jobs. With each we are ushered into adulthood, and the seat switching takes place. For many of us, there are times in our lives that we struggle in the front seat, wanting in some way to cast off the responsibility of all that comes with being an adult in our culture. Life has gotten so complicated, that the front seat seems much more like an airplance cockpit with all its levers and dials we know nothing about. In some cases, we meet people who have tried the cockpit, only to break under its pressure, and "check-out" of their responsibilities, only to leave behind broken relationships in family and friendships. Regardless of our frustration with those we see who check-out, all of us at times struggle with being in the front seat.

Jesus says to all of us in the front seat, "Come to me, all you who have heavy loads, and I will give you rest." I like the bumper sticker that states, "If God is your co-pilot, you need to switch seats". These are reminders to us that no matter how many responsibilities we may have today, the strength to meet these ultimately does not come from the sweat of our brow or the size of our bank account, but rather from a God who brings rest to the weary, and strength to those who feel they may faint. It is only by His strength that we can sit in the front seat at all, so we must rely on Him by greater and greater degrees as the front seat turns into a cockpit.

But back to Cookie Monster. Neither in the front or back seat, Cookie has chosen the ride of his life. Exhilarating, exciting, a bit scary. But he can't take the smile off of his face. A few times in my life I have taken a ride like that. The first time I flew, I couldn't take the stupid looking grin off of my face the whole time. The first time I jumped off a cliff into the Atlantic Ocean, I came up out of the water with a big, cheesy, seaweed smile. So, since our children are in the back seat, and God is our driver, maybe its time for us to spend a little more time on the bumper. What do I mean?

"(By faith they)...Conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. Women received back their dead, raised to life again. Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword... These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what was promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect."

Maybe were trying to get to the wrong spot in the church today. It seems that more and more Christians want to find their way to the backseat, in order to be safe rather than faithful. God seems to reward bumper riders. I have found that being on the bumper, while just a bit scary, is actually the times I have felt the greatest joy as a follower of Christ. But what do I know, I'm...Just Thinking.

matt

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