Several years ago my children clubbed together to buy me a voucher for advanced driver training. It wasn’t that they thought that I was a bad driver, rather that they knew this was something I had wanted to do for many years. I duly attended the lectures and trained with an observer in the passenger seat until ready to take the test, which I passed. This immediately gave me access to certain benefits such as lower insurance premiums. It also confronted me with new responsibilities. As an advanced driver I should always drive well, shouldn’t I?
The reality of life is that things slip and old habits can easily return. Impatience is a problem. Especially when it comes to slow drivers, bad drivers, truck drivers, caravans, horseboxes, farm tractors, etc. But I have a Bible to guide me and remind me – ‘Advanced Driving – The Essential Guide.’ It is a bit dusty at the moment, but I keep it on the pile of books on the bedside cabinet just in case I fancy reading it again sometime.
I can’t change the way that other drivers drive or behave on the road, but I can show them courtesy. After all, we are all on the road together. Any of us who have (or think we have) advanced driving skills have a responsibility to display those skills, and a healthy amount of grace when it comes to those who are travelling around us with skills that we perceive to be lesser than our own. Strangely, I have found that my driving skills are best when I have the music turned off and am tuned into God instead. It seems incredible that being in conversation with God makes me a better driver. Perhaps it is His grace leaking out through me?
The road could be a picture of life anywhere – family, work, or church for instance. If we consider church then there can be few churches without their share of irritating individuals (even us?). There are people in church that we gravitate towards, and there are people in church who we just want to avoid. The problem is that we are all travelling together. If for some reason we consider ourselves advanced drivers on this journey, then we have additional responsibilities to show grace to those who travel with us. We need to dust off our Bibles and make sure they are read regularly, and we need to live our lives in conversation with God. Then perhaps we will find it easier to be people who set an example, rather than people who criticise or get impatient with those around us.
Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.
Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love. (Ephesians 4:12-16 NIV)