“HOW’S MY DRIVING?” By Pastor YAU
Text: Matthew 5:13-16
1) A big mistake: A story goes like this: a stressed out woman was tailgating a man as they drove on a busy street. When the man slowed down to a stop at a yellow light, the woman hit her horn, cussing and screaming in frustration and gesturing angrily. As she was still in her anger, she heard a tap on her window and looked up into the face of a police officer who ordered her to exit the car with her hands up. He took her to the police station and placed her in a holding cell. An hour later, the officer returned to her and said, “I’m sorry, Ma’am. This is a big mistake. When I pulled up behind you I noticed your “What Would Jesus Do?” license plate holder and the “Follow Me to Sunday School” bumper sticker, I assumed you were driving a stolen car.”
2) A big mishap: Satan doesn’t care if we call ourselves Christians as long as we don’t live like Christians. When we live like the rest of the world, following his signals, he can damage the reputation of God and disarm our desire to witness for Christ. How we live our life at home, at work, in school, to friends and neighbors has so much to do on our effectiveness or lack of it in leading others to know God and find salvation for their souls. We may dress like saints and hold Bibles in our hands on Sundays, put decoration on doors of our houses, wear crosses on our necks or the lapel of our suits and put religious stickers on our cars, but if our words and deeds are like those in the world, or worse, we miss the purpose God has for us: be the salt and light of this world.
WHO CARES HOW WE DRIVE? You may substitute “drive” with other verbs such as “live, talk, act, react, think, do, go, choose,” etc.
1) The owner: Have you seen labels tapped to the back of commercial vehicles with these words “How’s my driving? Call 1-800-xxx-xxxx”? Labels like this were placed on company cars and vans to make sure the drivers of those vehicles drive carefully, safely and legally according to traffic laws and regulations. Companies ask the driving public to report any unsafe driving by unsafe drivers so they will know who is driving the wrong way and be stopped from harming the public. Unsafe drivers do post greater risks for public safety and need to be stopped. In our case, God cares how do we drive or live our life. We are here in this world, representing our owner, God, and He cares very much how do we drive.
2) The public: We all know that unsafe drivers post danger to others who share the roadways. Other drivers may get hurt or even killed by those who drive recklessly. Same applies to how we live in this world. The way we live, work, act, talk the decisions we make, places we go, attitudes we have, etc. will all affect people around us for good or bad consequences. No one lives on isolated islands. We are all parts of communities, big and small, and our ways of life will effectively affect people around us at home, in school, at work, in church and the larger community, the society. The public has the right to care how we drive.
3) The government: In order to ensure safety of all people who share roadways, governments set rules and enforcement agents such as police to make sure all drivers follow the rules to protect the safety of the public. God has ordained many levels of governments from small to big ones: parents, teachers, guardians, pastors, leaders, people in authority positions, etc. to teach, show, guide, correct us to make sure we follow rules. Anyone who does not follow rules will receive proper correction or punishment for his offense. In a higher sense, God is the top government. He is the one who has all the authority and responsibility to make sure we live and drive the way we should. He will also exercise His duty to discipline us when we violate His rules. All violations carry consequences.
4) The driver: To drive carefully, safely and responsibly is first for the good of the driver himself. While there are many who were killed and injured by reckless drivers, statistics show that more people were injured and killed by their own bad driving habits. To drive carefully and safely is first for our own benefit and well being. If we really love ourselves, we need to drive carefully and safely. The principle applies to the way we live, talk, act, think, choose and many other action oriented choices. We live and do right to protect ourselves from harm, immediate or future.
WHY DO WE DRIVE BADLY? You may substitute “drive” with other verbs such as “talk, live, do, act and react” like the list above.
1) We have rebellious nature: I am not trying to pass the bucket but we all were born with that rebellious nature---just don’t want to follow rules. Since the day Eve and later Adam began to rebel against God’s rule, we inherit that nature not to follow rules, all kinds of rules. When we were told not to do this and that, that’s exactly what we want to do, just the opposite. Some may name it “freedom,” but it is one of the defects of being human. This applies to driving, to our responsibilities at home, in school, at work and all other areas of life. We don’t like to be told what to do.
2) We want to drive “my way”: Some may call it “dignity”, others call it “independence,” we just want to do things our way---the way we want it regardless of good or bad, right or wrong. We put the “self” over and above all others sometimes even God. That self nature got human race into so much trouble, pain, suffering and regrets first by Eve and then by all of us in history. The biggest sin of all is not what we do with our hands but what we meditate in our hearts.
3) We ignore consequences: Even though we all realize that every seed will bear fruits given the time and condition, we just ignore this important principle---we think it will not happen to me. Those who live their life recklessly, making foolish decisions, ignore good and prudent advices think they are the lucky ones and will not suffer consequences of their choice. The law of “You reap what you plant” has been there for 1,000s of years and it is not going to change just because of your wishes.
4) We forgot our purpose: Most of us believe that God has a purpose for our lives and the meaning of life is to fulfill that purpose. But when we forgot we have a purpose of being here and the results of our life if we follow God’s path we tend to wonder our life in ways that will not bear fruits to glorify God. Some may substitute God’s purpose with their own purposes of life. Others may completely forget about it, the result is the same: they do not have meaningful and abundant life as God has promised them to have.
HOW’S MY DRIVING? If the way we drive reflects the way we live, then we better pay attention to how we drive because the whole world is watching, not just the police. To have positive results in our life, here are some lessons Jesus told us to follow:
1) We are the light: “You are the light of the world.” (5:14) Jesus has given all of us an identity: the light of the world. In fact this is more than just an ID, it is also a purpose. We are here for a purpose: to be the light to the people of the world. No one is here by accident without a purpose. Life without purpose is a waste of time and resource. This is not what we choose to but we are given this purpose. Since we are the light, we need to live in the light.
2) We are not hidden: “A city on a hill cannot be hidden” () No light can function as a light if it is hidden. No Christian can be a true Christian if he is hiding or hidden. As lights are to be seen, Christians are to be seen by the world. God has chosen us to be light, we should function as light.
3) We are not under bowls: “No one lights a lamp and put it under a bowl.” ()We are to remove all obstacles of our light, bowl or anything else that may hinder our function as light. Nothing should hinder us from shining our light. We need to get rid of any and all obstacles so our light won’t be blocked.
4) We are to shine on others: “Instead they put it on its stand and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men.” (5:15-16)All the people in this world, near and far, need the light of God to shine their way, to lead them to the right path to God. Christians are in this world so others may find the path to God, the way to salvation.
5) We are to do good deeds: “They may see your good deeds.” () This is about how we drive or live our life. Don’t try to hide your identity as Christians. Don’t try to think that no one sees or cares how we live. They do and they see everything we do, every word we say, every attitude we have and every place we go and every gesture we make. Our words, acts, attitude and character all show the world who we really are. Everyone can see what is on our inside by our expressions on the outside.
6) We are to glorify God: “And praise your Father in heaven.” () The most crucial factor to a father’s honor and reputation is how his children live their lives. The most crucial factor to God’s honor is how we live our lives. We may be bridges to lead people to God if our lives are solid rocks of that bridge. On the other hand, we may be stone walls that block others from seeing and believing God and receive eternal life.
1) Time for self exam: Since we don’t have a label tapped on our back asking people to evaluate how we drive or live, we need to do self examination or assessment to see if we are living our lives what Jesus wants us to live. The value of our existence all depends on how we live and how others see us and see God through us. We are here for a good purpose, God’s purpose.
2) Time to make changes: If some of us realize that they have not been faithful in following rules, not faithful to the trust God has put in them, not living their lives that brings others to God, this is time to change course. Get rid of anything that is blocking their light from shining. Remove all bowls that are holding their light back. It’s never too late to get back on the right track.
3) Time to be rewarded: When Peter asked Jesus what will he and other disciple receive when they made sacrifices to follow Him, Jesus made such promise in reply, “(You) will not fail to receive many times as much in this age and, in the age to come, eternal life.” (Luke 18:30) Live a life for the Lord is never a loss by great gain. Do not hesitate to follow the rules Jesus set for all of us, a path to victory and blessing.