Yesterday turned into a bit of an adventure as our car broke down on the way to an afternoon out in Brighton. Driving along the A27, thinking how nicely our rather faded but faithful old Zafira was running, the car started spluttering and coughing and an engine management light came on. We pulled in, I turned the engine off and on again to reset it but was met with the same problem. We limped along to the busiest Tesco car park I have ever visited and I used the Android AA app to summon assistance. Just thirty or so minutes later a very friendly chap pulled up and started stripping down the top of the engine as if he were working in a warm, fully equipped garage bay. He confirmed the problem and then said he had already rung ahead to a local garage to reserve the bit he thought it might be. I was amazed, I didn’t realise the gift of prophecy was alive and well in our (so called) fourth emergency service. He drove off to buy the bit for me and then returned to fit it. To say I was impressed would be somewhat of an understatement.
The feeling of genuine thankfulness was unaffected and it put me in mind of the way that church should function. God has designed it that our mutual dependence on each other should bring him honour and also allow us to serve and be served. There are times when I am like the AA man and I can pull up and help someone out of an hole with some of the grace God has shown to me. There are other times (perhaps more than we realise) when we are the ones broken down and what we need to do is ask for some help. It’s quite tough asking for help for many of us because we don’t want to be a trouble to others but of course such an attitude is often motivated by pride and denies others the joy of serving and ourselves the joy of realising how blessed we are to have others who love us and want to humbly serve.
The ultimate example of this is Jesus who comes alongside to serve and save when we are wrecked and powerless to help ourselves. It’s a pity to let pride drive us to refuse his help simply because we think we can do it ourselves. The profound sense of gratitude I have for his rescue will last into eternity and each small reminder of that, such as the arrival of the AA man, gives me fresh reasons to appreciate what God’s Son has done.
6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.
7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person-though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die-
8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.