I’m sitting here at a Starbucks watching people walk around Barnes & Noble as I sip on my coffee. I love to study people, but not for the purpose of judgment or criticizing, but I love to study people because I find people fascinating. I find it mind-blowing that we are all so very different, yet so much alike. It’s a dichotomy I can’t truly balance in my mind or begin to explain with a satisfactory outcome or conclusion. Some people make eye contact with one another and some appear to avoid it at all cost. Some people appear mesmerized by their NOOK as their eyes jump quickly from point to point and some people blankly gaze into what seems like emptiness as they perhaps fill it with thoughts. Some people tap their foot to the music, even though they don’t seem like the stereotypical person who would listen to this kind of REM-like music. While others seem to block it out completely. And some people walk through the store with an obvious march that screams, “I know what I’m here for and I’m headed straight for it and nothing, nothing had better get in my way!” And others seem to walk around aimlessly, almost appearing legitimately lost.
On the other hand, every one of these people has a beating heart. Each one has a spirit, a brain, lungs that breath the same air I breathe and a rear-end to sit on. I have met many paraplegics, amputees and those who are physically and/or mentally challenged throughout my life, but I’ve never met someone without a rear-end (“butt” for the lay person, lol). Huh? Anyway, we also have pretty much the same basic needs: food, clothing, safety and each other.
My wife and I have a couple of vehicles in which the brakes went out on both at the same time and were in need of some serious repair. We had no transportation because without brakes the vehicles were rendered unsafe by even a risk-taker’s standards. A friend of ours offered to replace the brakes on both as long as we bought the parts. When he came over, he first took off the wheel. Different vehicles typically have different tires. Then he began disassembling the brake system piece by piece, until he got to the brake pads. He showed me the problem. I couldn’t see the problem when the tire was on the vehicle because it was hidden. It took a mechanic (because I’m no mechanic) to expose the problem. Ron showed me the problem so that I could understand what was happening in the areas I couldn’t visibly see. All I knew was that something was wrong and I had a good idea it was the brakes, but I didn’t know the extent. Suprisingly to me, the damage to the vehicle’s brake system was quite extensive…bad, very bad. I had been driving in danger and didn’t know it. I was unknowingly endangering myself, my children, my wife and others on the road. Of course I allowed Ron to fix the issue.
Every person is unique and different because God created us uniquely and different from anyone else. We behave differently, we think differently, we feel differently, we perceive life differently, we handle stress differently, we celebrate differently, we are interested in different things, we are motivated differently, and the list could go on and on. But you and I are so much the same. For the most part we have the same parts, we share the same communities, we share the same restaurants and grocery stores, we visit the same coffee shops, we have the same need for food, shelter and community with others. Everyone desires to share life with someone else or others. And you and I, we have problems. Every one of us has problems. Not only that, but every one of us has problems we can’t fix on our own. Now it would make no sense if I told you that when I had a brake problem with our vehicles that I went to the local flower shop or the local IRS office to get it fixed. That makes no sense, yet you and I can and do spend many hours and energies seeking an unqualified mechanic to fix or solve our spiritual problems. I say “spiritual” because our problems are rarely behavior problems. Behavior problems and even mental problems all have roots. Addressing the behavior is like taking a piece of bad fruit off a fruit tree and tossing it away without addressing the real problem, which lies in the roots. We must inquire the right mechanic for the right job, yes?
I’ve had lots of serious problems in my life and I’ve sought answers in bars, alcohol, women, sex, pornography, manipulation, money and power. And although these mechanics I sought brought some fun, they also brought great shame, embarrassment and the ultimate result was a disassembled person with parts scattered all over the garage and all over town. I was dangerously driving me, jeopardizing all in my circle and anyone close to it.
One afternoon, while driving this “Uncle Buck” looking vehicle called, “Jamie,” I met a gorgeous blonde on my, then, college campus. My intentions were clear and she agreed we would go to her place, but first she had to go to this church thing for credit. I said no problem. After all, I grew-up in church. BORING! We walked to the church, which was located just off-campus, went in and sat in the very back. Shortly after the music started she got up and went to the bathroom…and never came back. That afternoon, in that church, I met the one mechanic who could fix every problem I ever had. This mechanic would not only work on my wreck that I called a life, but would drive my wreck for me and make sure I was going in the right direction, at the right speed and with the right safety features so everyone could be safe. I’m a skeptic and very critically minded by nature, that’s how I’m wired and so when I say I met a mechanic, asked him to drive my wreck and trusted him with all of it, I will tell you this. What I experienced wasn’t magic or a psychological delusion. What I experienced that night and ever since was and is real. And I have proof that the ultimate mechanic of every person’s life, differences and the sameness alike, is Jesus Christ. The proof is my life. That night I told God that I knew I was wrong and that I needed His help alone because no one could heal and solve my deep-rooted issues that caused so many problems. I wanted to change and needed to change, but had no power. Time didn’t change me, counseling didn’t change me and trying really hard didn’t change me. I have been healed and transformed in ways I never imagined I could be or would be. I attribute it solely to Jesus. Jesus changed me. That night I learned He died on the cross for my sins and the sins of the whole world, including you. I learned that forgiveness and eternal life is one heartfelt invitation away, but can’t be received without that surrender to Jesus alone. It’s a free gift to you and me, but cost Him everything.
If you don’t know the only mechanic you’ll ever need, but want to with all of your heart, just sincerely pray to God right now. Tell God you recognize you’re a sinner and need His help. Tell Him you are ready to turn away from living the way you are and want to live for Him, whatever the cost. Tell Him you believe Jesus was crucified and was raised for you. And ask God to take your life and lead your life from here forward.
Get a Bible and begin reading “John.” Look for a local Bible-believing and teaching church in your area. If you need help with this, message me. Most importantly, spend time daily praying, talking to God sincerely. He will fix your wreck.