A musing about faith… and cars.

A neighbor on our block just bought a new car. It hasn’t sparked “new car envy” – maybe I’m too old for that. However, I can’t help wonder… why?
Let me explain – I sometimes watch programs where classic cars are restored, and occasionally the restorers are asked to give a classic car a number of “high performance” upgrades. After the work is done, there is always a shot of them test driving the car. So, imagine this… a car with a huge engine sporting every conceivable piece of high-performance equipment and capable of easily running 130 mph comes roaring down a city street for maybe a block. Then, the brake lights come on and the driver turns it around and does another very noisy, high acceleration run… for one block… repeat until you get bored driving the same block forward and backward.

I’ve always wondered why I would want a car that can do 130 mph when the most I can drive (legally) on the interstate is 75? (I know it makes a loud noise and sounds “tough” and the stance is “aggressive,” etc… but seriously?). My “wondering why” has been only a television inspired action… until recently, when the previously mentioned neighbor came home with his new car. It sounds “tough” and it’s stance is “aggressive” and all the other high performance words you can think of. According to the manufacturer, it develops 717 hp and top speed is listed at 186 mph. (For comparison, our 2001 Subaru Forester makes 165 hp with a top speed downhill with a tailwind of maybe 90 mph). Which means my neighbor can start from a dead stop at the end of our street, floor the accelerator, and have about 1.5 seconds until he has to jump on the brake! (I forgot to mention the base model costs $59,500… plus whatever options you load on). The car was purchased three weeks ago. To date (7/12) it has been driven twice (I know because everyone can hear it start up blocks away). I don’t begrudge the neighbor his car… it’s also pretty! I just wonder why you would have something with that kind of potential without actually using it?

I think the same thing applies to faith, as well. Some folks have little or no faith – they’re on the equivalent of a skateboard. Unfortunately, way too many people claim to have “high-performance faith”… but never use it. Going to church on Sunday isn’t a demonstration of faith. Reading the Bible and even attending a Bible study isn’t a demonstration of faith. The book of James in the New Testament says, “faith without works is dead.” In the same way, a high-performance car that isn’t driven isn’t a car – it’s a huge paperweight! Faith without works isn’t really faith… James makes it clear later in the book that action is what completes faith – it’s what makes faith the kind of response that God wants and needs from us. Should you read the Bible? Absolutely! Should you study the Bible in a group? YES! But don’t let that be enough for you… complete your faith with action.

Take it out for a spin. Make a difference.

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