Friday, April 20, 2012

Checked Your Oil Lately?

Last week while the munchkins were in preschool, I decided to get my van's
oil changed. To say that it was overdue would be an understatement. My 
dear husband had been intending to change it himself, but since weeks and
weeks, or maybe months had gone by, I decided it was time. I gave my other
half a courtesy call, and he agreed. I pulled up to a local garage and informed
the gentleman who came to my window that my oil change was sadly overdue.
I'm sure I gave him a, "please don't judge me," look. I warned him again, "It's 
been a long time." He smiled politely and asked me to leave my keys in the 
car and have a seat inside. 

After a few minutes of perusing children's magazines in the waiting room he 
came in and asked if the car had been serviced since their last record... in 
July (mind you this is now April the following year). I sheepishly shook my 
head and got ready for the bad news. I was informed that not one drop of oil 
came out of my van's engine. Not one drop. I knew it wouldn't be great, but I 
didn't expect it to be that bad. He assessed my driving habits quickly, stating 
that I probably mostly drove short distances around town, but had I taken a 
longer drive, I would've noticed problems. He was surprised the poor thing 
was still chugging along, and I wouldn't have made it one more week for sure.
The only thing that had really saved me was the high mileage oil used last
time. That, I thought, and some divine protection from above.

Now what to do about it. He said he couldn't just put more oil in and that my
van needed and engine flush. I verified with my husband that it was okay,
and my van received a flush, new high mileage oil, and new wiper blades 
(part of a combo deal). He was gracious enough to give me a few discounts
on all the services and reminded me before I pulled away that they'll check
my oil and fluid levels for me in between oil changes and top off for free. 
I assured him I'd remember that and never neglect my van so bad again.

I learned from this experience. Don't assume that because your car still
drives, all is well. God also showed me a spiritual lesson. A while back
my pastor compared maintaining your car's oil to our spiritual lives. This 
incident reminded me of that sermon. If I coast along in life ignoring 
potential problems, assuming I'm okay, not receiving fresh "oil" from 
God's Word (the Bible) on a daily basis, I could literally be on the verge 
of breaking down at any moment. I don't want to live my life with an empty 
oil tank. I want to be full of God's love, patience, grace, and gentleness. 
I can only do that by "abiding" in Him as He states in John 15:4.

"Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless
it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in Me." English 
Standard Version

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