Pickup truck theology

Not too long ago, my D-group (disciple group) did a service project for a fellow church member.  My group consists of about a dozen 7th grade boys.  My co-leader, the ever awesome and my very good brother Micheal, had decided that we were going to do some landscaping for a fellow church member.

It was agreed that I would borrow one of the church’s pickup trucks and go the the local gravel company and pick up a few bed-loads of river rock to fill in the landscaping areas.  So, on the morning of our project, I go and check out the church’s ancient Ford F150 pickup. 

Now, I say ancient, only because I think this thing is about the same age I am.  It’s a rather old, beat up, creaking from just about every joint imaginable truck.  It may look like it’s about to fall apart, but it sure can get the job done when you need it.  Come to think of it, that old pick up truck is a lot like me.  And I don’t mean metaphorically, either.

So, I drive to the gravel company, and once I figure out where in the yard I’m going, they get a giant earth mover to drop a ton and a half (I do mean a actual ton and a half) in the bed.  After dodging the charity 5K race on my way out of town and back to church, I opted to take the same bypass around Evansville’s south side that I took getting into town.

As I got going up to the speed limit on the bypass, I noticed I started having more and more difficulty controlling the truck.  My old weathered truck was getting blown left and right, or at least what felt like getting blown around.  My steering wheel was loose and feeling erratic.  But if I slowed down, it seemed to stabilize a bit.

Now, I don’t normally drive a truck (I own a Dodge Calibur and my wife has a Honda Civic), and I certainly don’t drive around with a ton and a half of weight behind me.  So nothing really occurred to me until after I got back to our work site and after we got the first load of rock unloaded.

It was then we noticed that the back of the truck was back to normal.  It hit me on the second trip when I was paying attention that the weight in the bed was forcing the front end up, making the tires have a bit less traction on the road.  Hence, the instability of control while driving.

I got to thinking about how we are a lot like that old pickup truck spiritually.  We tend to carry around a lot of “baggage” in our lives; guilt, concern and worries, doubts, fears, anxieties, sins.  We’re used to it.  Each one of those things, individually, don’t amount to much.  But, much like the river rocks, when you add them up, over time, without dealing with them, they will begin to weigh us down.

As we get weighed down more and more by these things of the world, we begin to find it easier to stay on the the path we’ve chosen.  Like the truck, we lose our traction to the path God has set before us as we let the world weigh upon us.  Repeatedly, scripture tells us in the Old Testament about not turning to the left or the right (Deuteronomy 5:32, Deuteronomy 17:11, Joshua 1:7, Joshua 23:6) of God’s path.  But we let the world put so much stuff on us, that we start losing our way.

But the great part is, like that pickup truck, if the bed is empty, there’s nothing to pull us away from God’s path.  No worldly weight dragging us down, distracting us from our relationship with God.  We don’t have to worry about turning to the left or right because we don’t have anything pulling us away. 

There’s one difference in how we get rid of that weight in our spiritual truck bed.  See, it took me and 3 7th graders a long time to shovel all that gravel out of the back of the truck.  It was exhausting, painful (yet rewarding) work.  But with our spiritual truck beds, no matter how much we shovel out of our lives, we’ll never be able to get rid of it.  Only having a relationship with Jesus, accepting his gift of death and resurrection for our sins, can we get our truck bed empty.  Jesus empties our weight in a single sweep.  He did it on the cross, a one and done deal.  All we have to do is pull our spiritual pickup truck over, say “Jesus, I’m sorry.  Thank you for taking this weight for me. I’ll follow you.”  A few simple words, and we’re back on track.

What’s in your truck bed that you need to get rid of?  Are you trying to empty your truck bed by yourself?  Or are you trusting the Lord to “clean sweep” you of the junk you’re hauling around?