Of Bananas and Lemons

by | May 18, 2010 | Control

When I turned 18 years old I had the exciting occasion to buy my first car. It cost me all of $400 bills and I was totally excited. It was a 1973 Ford LTD with on 74000 original miles on it. What I soon learned was that the original yellow paint was indicative of something less transparent…it was a complete lemon.

I learned a lot from that car, and I believe it serves as a metaphor for life in the church today.

Many times I wanted to paint the car a new color. I thought about various colors of red and blue and even contemplated green. I could get a cheap paint job and I was ready to do it. What I realize though is that all the paint in the world would not hide the fact that the car was a lemon. The transmission leaked, the exhaust system was a mess, and it got gallons to the mile, not miles to the gallon. It leaked so much fluid I know my father thought about having the driveway declared a hazardous waste site.

How often do you and I walk around like the white washed tomb? We are all dead and dreary and malfunctioning on the inside, but we have a nice shiny exterior that we show the whole world?

I could have gotten a paint job for the car, I could polish it and make it look so fancy and well cared for. No one would know the difference unless they got in the car and started it up. I could bring people by my garage and show it to them and act like a proud father. No one would know the difference…but I would.

The best way to show of my new paint job would be to drive the car around the neighborhood and get people interested in the car. People could ask “Hey Carl, who did the paintjob man?” Or “Hey Carl…looking good man”. I could get a lot more people interested in my car that way. In order to drive it around though I would have to have it in working condition and not letting parts fall behind me as I drive around.

The church best functions when it is polished on the outside…and running well on the inside. A church divided against itself is a church that is not operating as God would have it to. Anything from a deacon board that is dealing with a lot of infighting…to a denomination that is allowing itself to split because of doctrinal issues…all do not work to the glory of God.

In Philippians 1:27-30 we are reminded “Meanwhile, live in such a way that you are a credit to the Message of Christ. Let nothing in your conduct hang on whether I come or not. Your conduct must be the same whether I show up to see things for myself or hear of it from a distance. Stand united, singular in vision, contending for people’s trust in the Message, the good news, not flinching or dodging in the slightest before the opposition. Your courage and unity will show them what they’re up against: defeat for them, victory for you and both because of God.”

Any Bible believing and gospel driven church is working for the same cause…to win souls from the fiery depths of hell. What has happened though is we have gotten into the mentality that our way is the only way to get there. Each denomination has it’s missional aspect and we all buy into that way of reaching Christ, but there are many different avenues to the one true and living God.

When I am driving my newly painted and mechanically sound 73 Ford LTD around the town I control which way it drives. Do I go left, do I go right and so on. This is the free will that God has given me at the helm of the vehicle. Ultimately at the end of the day though I am driving one place…home. Any route I take during the day matters not, because in the end I will be home, and that is the most important part.

Carl is a freelance writer and seminary student living in Colorado Springs, CO. He currently writes on the blog site Thoughts of a Gyrovague and he can be reached at Carl@thoughtsofagyrovague.com

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Of Bananas and Lemons

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