Dec. 31, 2011

John 17:11b

Jesus said, “Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one.”

A couple weeks ago, Rick bought me a new tire for the Jeep that I drive. For a few weeks, the Jeep would shimmy between 50 and 60 miles an hour. Rick thought some new rubber on it would take away the shimmy.

But one new tire? I thought this was a little strange, especially since Rick is the one who insists that keeping tire pairs is important. One tire had an unusual wear spot on it. But then, I discovered how shrewd my husband is. He decided that there was a perfectly fine, full-sized spare that had never been used available. He simply called around until he found another tire to match the spare and put them on as new back tires to the Jeep.

We switched vehicles for a couple days so he could get the tires changed. He was especially shrewd. Not only did he replace the only necessary tires, he did the work himself. This required removing the old tires off the rims and getting the new tires onto the rims.  With better equipment at his folks, Rick did the work there. Nonetheless, Rick’s Mom commented how he worked up a sweat doing this. She also inquired about when he was old enough to graduate from doing this kind of work. Apparently not yet.

Rick was anxious for me to drive the Jeep with the new tires and see how it handled. The Jeep has a pile of miles on it. But I must say: it is amazing how much better it drives with two new tires! All for the price of one! This little exercise got me thinking. How much better would the Jeep drive if all four tires had been replaced? With winter driving a sure bet in the near future, I asked Rick. He was confident the front tires were just fine.

Is this just a little lesson on how tires got replaced on our Jeep? There is more. I couldn’t believe how simply buying one new tire made so much difference in how the Jeep handled and drove. With two new tires, it now drives like a much newer vehicle than it really is.

Let’s translate this analogy to our spiritual lives. Imagine if we embodied one new “tire” this next year into our spiritual lives. What is one thing that might have a “cost,” whether this is time, priority or upfront dedication, but could have a dramatic impact on our spiritual lives? Likewise, is there something sitting around, not fully being utilized, that we could put to work to enhance our spiritual journeys, much like the unused spare did on the Jeep?

Too often, I want to do a complete overhaul – replace all four tires – when this isn’t realistic. I’m expecting too much and by thinking I can do it all, I set myself up for failure. What I really should focus on is just one or two changes or updates or priorities that can take some of the “shimmy” out of my life. If I would just focus on one or two things, I’d be amazed at how much smoother my life’s ride might be.

During World War II, Winstin Churchill said, “Failure to plan is planning to fail.” Unless we reflect upon the messages we’ve explored during Advent and plan for how these lessons will take root in our lives, they will be a bunch of good thoughts that may or may not become embodied in our lives. This is as much of a challenge for myself as it is for anyone else. I’m committed to looking for those one or two things which I can change, improve or adopt. I pray that you will also.

Let us pray: We rejoice in the light, and we echo the song that comes down through the night from the heavenly throng. Ay! We shout to the lovely evangel they bring, and greet in his cradle our Savior and King! Amen.  

Blessings –




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