Dave Chamberlin, whose knowledge about vehicles I trust as much as anyone I know, went with me to look at a prospective new truck for the Pollard household. It was a beauty in its own way, a 1969 Ford F-100, 300 cube inline six with four on the floor. Dave had already done a pre-inspection on it the night before, concluding that the front end was aligned and the shocks were in good shape. It was rusty in spots, but consistent with the age and nothing too troubling about the exterior. When we arrived at the owner’s house, he fired it up and it sounded pretty good. The asking price, which I was sure I could shave a few hundred dollars from, was right. No, it did not have a horn or emergency brake, but neither of these was a deal killer. Dave got in the passenger’s side and I took my place behind the wheel. The truck was parked on a downward incline, and I started it up and we started going the half block toward the stop sign at the intersection. When I plied the brakes, there was no response. So, feeling a concern I am sure Dave shared, I started pumping them. Just in time, they grabbed and we stopped. Pulling out roughly in what Dave called the “stump pulling gear,” I shifted to second. Going into a curve, I noticed that the steering wheel was a bear to control. The owner said that the truck never had power steering, but the steering column performed as if power steering had gone out on it. I wrestled that truck about a mile down to the next major intersection. After a couple more (difficult!) turns, I asked Dave to drive and tell me what he thought. Sure enough, the concerns were confirmed. This truck had major steering and braking issues. Great engine. Nice body for the age. Good suspension and alignment. Terrible steering and brakes! That was enough to kill the deal. The thought of Gary (or me) trying to fight the steering wheel or brakes, especially when quick or immediate response was necessary, terminated my interest.
Balance and self-control. These are just two aspects of life, but vitally important ones. You can have some great qualities, but lack these two and your life is in trouble. Your effectiveness is undermined. You cannot enjoy great success in drawing others to Christ without them. They may seem unrelated to one another, but they are both integral parts of the whole we must strive to be. Swerving to the left or right of biblical center, getting obsessed with one or a few issues to the neglect of other duties or teaching, is dangerous. Marry that with a lack of desire or ability to keep oneself in proper check and disaster awaits! May we regularly do a check up on our character, our habits, our thoughts, and all the “major systems” (prayer, Bible study, service, etc.). May we also make sure our lives are in proper balance and governed with self-control! The alternative is unpleasant for ourselves and those around us!
–See Joshua 1:7; Acts 20:27; 2 Peter 1:5-7; Galatians 5:22-24; James 3:1-12