I just got back from picking up my truck from the shop. I had the oil and filter changed and had the mechanic look at all the stuff that causes problems: tires, fluids, breaks, etc. This may seem odd, but I always feel a little bit better after I take the truck in. I like that someone with mechanic's eyes has spent some time looking at it. As I drive, little noises my ears pick up on don't make me quite as nervous. If I have a out of town trip on the calendar, I feel a little more confident that I am going to make it. I feel like a little better steward of the money I spent buying the truck in the first place and more hopeful that it will last as long as my last truck. At this point, you may be wondering why I put some much thought into an oil change and what in the world this has to do with discipleship. Good things to wonder about.
It just so happens that all this auto maintenance business is a great metaphor for our Christian journeys. Servicing my truck makes me feel better because, as the son of a man who started his career working on cars and eventually jets, I know full well that if I fail to take care of my truck it will eventually stop working possible stranding me and surely costing me a bunch of money. As Christians, we need regular maintenance as well. If we accept Christ into our lives and fail to work to maintain that relationship, something will break down in us as well. Some of us consider worshipping on Sunday as the thing that maintains our relationship with God. To overuse the metaphor, that would be like confusing putting gas in my truck with maintaining it. I certainly need to do that to keep it running, but it isn't the whole story.
Truly maintaining our relationship with Christ requires a bit more from us. The exact prescription may look a little different for each of us, but somewhere in the mix are Bible study, participation in a small group, prayer, study, service, worship and other means of staying connected with God and other believers. I have found that when I attend to the maintenance of my relationship with Christ, I feel a little better about myself. I am a little less nervous about the little noises I hear. I feel more confident that I will be able to finish the journey. I feel like a better steward of this life God has given me.
That is what our "University for Life" sermon series and study is all about- looking at the big picture of what it means to be a disciple. Over the next few weeks, we will be looking at, not only what it takes to become a Christian, but what it takes to commit the the life long journey of continuing to become a disciple, an apprentice of Jesus Christ. This of course requires regularly scheduled maintenance. (See your service advisor for more information.)
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