the Church on the Hill
by D. Eric Williams
Pastor, Cottonwood Community Church
My family and I have been in possession of a 1983 Dodge half ton van for about 15 years. Although it had been our primary workhorse for a long time it has been sitting idle in the parking lot for the last 18 months, license expired and the battery taken out and put away in storage. I imagine our neighbors thought we abandoned the thing and had just forgotten to leave it alongside the road somewhere.
However, spring is here (they say) and since the pickup we were using is no longer available, we are in need of a hauler. So, today I put the battery back in the van, pulled our Mazda alongside and hooked up the jumper cables. I climbed into the Dodge and turned the ignition; the starter delivered a solid crank and after a few pumps of the accelerator, the old 360 fired up. The van still needs fresh gas, an oil change and maybe plugs and points (it's an oldie) but I am amazed at how easily the aging Mopar came back to life.
Over the years I've known a number of Christians who are like our “classic” van. I am not talking about the broken down appearance (although I can relate to feeling more like a rust bucket with each passing year), I am talking about feeling abandoned even though you have lots of good use left in you.
As time passes it sometimes seems the kingdom of God is passing you by as well. It's not that God is no longer active (he is always working), it's that you feel as if you are no longer in the thick of things. It's not due to a lack of desire to join God at work but the sense that you are not the implement he is looking for just now. And so, you sit idle, your battery dead and your tires going flat.
Yet, I want to encourage you to be like our van. The old Dodge didn't need any retooling or tuning to fire up; it was ready to go at a moments notice. Although it's a little “out of shape” it is fundamentally sound and ready to get back to work. That's how we should be. Rather than sit around and feel sorry for yourself when you're in a season of rest, you need to stay sharp so you're ready to join God at work when the time comes.
The truth is, none of the elect are set aside by the Lord. He is always working in us and he expects us to be cultivating the new creation so we may manifest the reign of Jesus Christ in our life. From a human perspective it might seem we are rusting away in the driveway but the kingdom of God is a moment by moment reality we are expected to mindfully engage on a daily basis. The Lord never abandons us and we should not act as if he has. Those who know Your name trust in You because You have not abandoned those who seek You, Yahweh (Psalms 9:10). None of us can claim we've been put on blocks and had our battery pulled.
One more thing: we've used our van for a variety of jobs. It has carried our family around the inland northwest, hauled firewood out of the mountains and lugged trash to the dump. Don't let unwillingness to do something different than what you're used to be the cause of your inactivity. As servants of the Lord we should take joy in doing whatever he asks. So, keep your engine running and be ready to serve at any moment. God isn't finished with you yet.