The Voyager: Encouragement for Life's Journey
Below you will find articles from our Church's leadership meant to encourage you and give you insight into questions about life, faith, and God.
I recently had a friend of mine lend me his Chevrolet Corvette for me to take on a trip. He let me drive his beautiful, expensive car in all its aerodynamic, advanced-technology, high-acceleration glory!! I felt like a crop duster pilot who was offered the undeserved chance to fly an F-15 fighter jet.
Such an opportunity makes a context that is ripe for pretense. When I pulled into a parking space, people noticed me, particularly when it was a space in a Walmart parking lot. I must admit that I liked the attention. I would get out of the car with my sunglasses still on, stand by this beautiful vehicle that was not even mine, and try to look like I owned it. Even the low profile of the Corvette made me feel taller.
If someone commented on how nice “my” car was, I would just respond with a “thanks” and let them draw their own conclusions. Maybe they thought I was a successful businessman, perhaps a company CEO, or possibly a financial professional who maneuvers the stock market as well as the Corvette maneuvers turns. There was no doubt that it was extremely easy for me to use the unmerited privilege of driving that car to motivate me to walk with an extra self-promoting strut.
The truth of matter is that the opportunity to take my journey in that Corvette was my friend’s idea by his initiative. The underserved reality of such a request caused me not to even consider making it. There was nothing I could do to show I was worthy of benefitting from his investment. He bought that car. He invested time and resources in customizing it. For me to think that it should be available for me to drive would be arrogant entitlement at best. In opening that vehicle’s door to me, my friend showed me grace, giving me the chance to take my journey in a context of quality that I did not deserve.
“But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. . . . So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God” (Romans 5:8,11 NLT).
What my friend did for me Jesus did for us on an immeasurably greater scale. He offers us not just hope for life after death, but a quality of life in the here and now, a journey of living in a right relationship with God. It was His idea by His initiative. He preemptively saw us in the broken down junkers of our own self-reliance and chose to offer us the unmerited opportunity to travel in style. By trusting in what Jesus did for us on the cross, we have the opportunity to benefit from His investment. “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” (2 Corinthians 5:17, NLT). The new vehicle of life in which we can travel belongs to Jesus. It is His. He invested himself in it, signing the title in His own blood. By His grace, He opens the door and we sit down by faith.
“God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it” (Ephesians 2:8–9, NLT).
So how do we respond to such a privilege? What do we do once we sit behind the wheel? We drive in such a way that honors the owner, understanding that the vehicle of life in which we are traveling belongs to Him, not to us.
“. . . You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19–20, NLT).
Before my friend allowed me to leave in his car, he went over some specific instructions with me. He gave me practical directions in how to properly steward his investment with which I was entrusted. Those instructions set a context that protected both me and the car. As he spoke to me, I did not ignore or reject his guidance out of some presumptuous sense of competency. I listened intently because I knew that the owner of the vehicle knew best how to operate it, and wise was I if I took his words to heart. Wise are we if we respond to God in the same way. Humble teachability enables prudent stewardship of the opportunity Jesus has provided for us and the investment He made to make it all possible.
“So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves” (Galatians 5:16, NLT).
My friend reassured me that he was just a phone call or text away if I needed any help. He was not abandoning me to steward his investment on my own. He would be available to help along the way. By the Holy Spirit, God offers us the same opportunity to an infinitely greater measure. While I drove the Corvette, I was reminded to drive in a manner of which I knew my friend would approve. The unmerited opportunity brings with it the responsibility to drive in a way that honors the owner. The Holy Spirit guides and enables us to drive the vehicle of life so that we are protected and others around us benefit from our choices.
The point is that others see the quality of life that we have and want it. Just as the Corvette was on display to others around me, we are to put the life we have in knowing Jesus on display. But don’t follow my example. When others look at you, tell them who the owner is. Don’t use God’s grace as motivation for you to do some pretentious, self-righteous strut. Relying on the Holy Spirit, drive in a manner that brings honor to the owner. Let people know that the same grace the opened the door to you is available to them. By faith, if they will choose to sit behind the wheel, the journey of a lifetime awaits!
Article by Pastor Jeff Pfingston