Devotional Readings

The Green Machine

To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven. Ecclesiastes 3:1, NKJV.

I hit the car’s brakes but nothing happened. I pumped them three or four times but each time the pedal went straight to the floorboard. My passenger, the conference publishing secretary, let out an involuntary “Oh, no!” as he and I careened toward Main Street.

My aging car, dubbed “The Green Machine,” had been in serious need of repair for some time. I relied on several somewhat dubious reasons for delay. As a college student I could hardly afford toothpaste, much less a trip to the garage. Also, my frenetic schedule didn’t allow for such sensible pauses. Lastly, I took a perverse, macho delight in seeing how much could go wrong and still have the car get me to where I wanted to go. No wimpy trips to the mechanic for this rugged auto. My only concessions were to carry a few cans of oil and brake fluid in the trunk, plus several jugs of water.

As Main Street loomed before us, I steered hard right onto a side road that had a gentle incline; that slowed us until I could yank on the emergency brake. I took in a deep breath, filled the master brake cylinder with fluid, and headed off to our next appointment.

For years I treated myself the very same way. I drove myself until a visit to the repair shop was long overdue. The warning signs were all there–increased anxiety, inability to sleep well, upset stomach, a short emotional fuse, frequent headaches, and overdoses of junk food.

Then I discovered the simple truth that we need to balance input and output. Our ability to produce depends to a large extent on the time we take to renew. Hours spent replenishing ourselves, physically, emotionally, and spiritually, are just as important, just as valuable, as the time we actually spend working. Not an easy message for a long-time workaholic.

The Scriptures taught this truth centuries ago with the observation “To every thing there is a season, and time to every purpose . . . : a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; . . . a time to keep and a time to cast away” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-6). We ignore at our peril life’s God-given cycles of receiving and giving. I am now much more sensitive to trying to maintain that balance in my own life and keeping my inner brakes from letting go.

How are your inner brakes? Are they in need of some repair?

–Kim Allan Johnson

from Fit Forever: One-A-Day Devotionals for Body, Mind, and Spirit
Kay Kuzma (editor) | Review & Herald (2005)
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