I drive a slightly older F-150 Ford pick-up truck. It generally runs pretty good though it has a few quirks and idiosyncrasies.
Recently, I drove in it, along with a deacon from church, to the other side of Atlanta, Georgia, (to Duluth) to assist a husband and wife evangelistic ministry team as they transition to Tennessee to work under the oversight of our church’s elders.
With a flatbed trailer in tow, the first leg of our journey from Selmer, Tennessee to Tupelo, Mississippi went relatively well. However, my engine temperature gauge began spiking whenever I exceeded 60 miles per hour. Of course, this warning was of concern to us. But we really got worried when the red low oil pressure warning light came on. We pulled over to the side of U.S. Highway 78 into a gas station to check it out and popped the hood. Strangely enough, everything looked okay: the engine coolant expansion tank was still full, the oil dipping stick revealed the oil to be just fine, and the motor didn’t seem to be running hot at all.
After turning the engine back on, we noticed that all the gauges had reset to normal levels and the low oil pressure warning light had turned off. So easing back onto the highway again, I tried to keep my speedometer under 60. But it wasn’t long before the engine coolant gauge tipped over into the red zone only to be followed by the oil pressure warning light coming back on. Oh no, not again! So we pulled off the road yet again. This time, upon deacon Steve Plunk’s suggestion, I turned the ignition off and then turned the key to the right again. Lo and behold all the gauges and warning lights had reset to normal. Weird right? We looked under the hood once more to check coolant and oil levels, and everything seemed just fine.
But, one more thing is worth noting here: the truck’s air conditioner seemed to be flailing too as the cab got increasingly warmer and less comfortable.
We both reached the conclusion that the engine coolant and oil sensors must be malfunctioning. So, with some trepidation, I made the decision to risk it and see what would happen if we drove at regular speeds and ignored the sensor lights and gauges. I think we were both pretty nervous about this crazy experiment. But guess what? Absolutely nothing bad happened. We made it through Birmingham, on to Atlanta, and finally to our hotel in Lawrenceville without a hitch. One thing Steve noticed, however, was that whenever we slowed down to between 45 and 55, the air conditioner began working effectively again. Strange! We’ve learned since that it may actually be related somehow to the other sensors malfunctioning.
As I’ve been thinking about malfunctioning sensors, I’ve reflected on how in our lives sometimes we get worried about many of the wrong things. It is like our worldly human sensors are triggered because we are spiritually malfunctioning. We get all stirred up because we’re overly sensorized in our pursuits of security! We worry about food and drink, clothing and shelter, physical health and personal well-being, and our jobs and careers far more than we ought to. What we ought to be thinking much more about is our soul’s destiny. Is the “engine” of our spiritual selves firing on all cylinders?
In Matthew 6:25-34 (ESV), Jesus said the following:
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
In a world of sensory overload and false alarms, let’s pay attention to those spiritual matters that are most important.