Jesus answered, “Isaiah was right about frauds like you, hit the bull’s-eye in fact:
These people make a big show of saying the right thing, but their heart isn’t in it.
They act like they are worshiping me, but they don’t mean it.
– Mark 7:6-8, The Message
How many times have you been tired and relied on your cruise control to help you with the driving? It’s easy to do on road trips, when you can set the cruise button and give your leg and foot a rest. Yet going through the motions of using cruise control can be dangerous. If we are not careful, cruise control becomes a crutch when we are tired on long road trips. This can lead to complacency and the potential for not reacting quickly enough when faced with a changing road condition. It’s important to stay alert whenever we are driving and not fall into the trap of relying on cruise to get us to our destination.
It’s easy to fall into routines in life. Routines help establish rhythms which are helpful as we go about our days, giving us momentum and sustaining us in our efforts to engage with the tasks before us. But when these routines become stale, when we go through the motions and start feeling empty, it may be time to turn off the cruise control.
I’ve had a good number of engaging conversations with many folks throughout our District the past two weeks about the protocols we are considering for our churches and ministries. We are having to re-enter discussions about whether we will recommend or require mask-wearing. What should we do about the potluck on the calendar this coming week? The challenges continue for all of us to lead well, to listen well, and to live well through this season. Again. We are simply exhausted with it all, as we go through the motions of trying to figure out what are the best and safest practices for our families, our churches, and ourselves. It’s so easy to push that cruise control button to endure this same road we seem to be going down again.
Then the words Jesus speaks from Mark 7 disrupt my complacency and force me to sit up in my seat, turning off the cruise control. If I read my name into these words of Jesus, there’s an entirely new meaning to consider:
David makes a big show of saying the right things, but his heart isn’t in it.
David acts like he’s worshiping me, but he doesn’t mean it.
Mercy. I may make every effort to say the right thing, but is my heart in it? I struggle to say the right words, but do those words really represent my heart? I may talk a good talk, but does my walk reflect my talk?
Enuma Okoro, the author of last week’s reflections in The Upper Room Disciplines 2021: A Book of Daily Devotions, was a tutor in the writing center at Duke during my seminary days, who helped so many students form and shape their words so that they could complete writing assignments for our classes. She offers this about Mark 7: “We may claim we know God, but the condition of our hearts is what steers us either toward or away from the things of God. If you want to know who or what people most identify with, watch their actions” (page 286).
Oh how I want to be directed to the things of God. Maybe it is best I stop going through the motions and turn off the cruise control more often, so that I sit up in my seat and take notice of the things of God.
If you would like to view past editions of Driving with David, follow this link: https://beacondistrictnc.org/category/from-the-ds/