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.:: The Daily Cowbell ::.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Worship | The speeding ticket that wasn't (but almost was)

Every day at 8:30am, Maxwell staff spend a few minutes together worshiping the Lord. Every week, a different faculty member is assigned to the week's worships. This week, it's "Mr. Webb's" turn. I'll be publishing my worship thoughts to the site every morning (hopefully). Today's worship: God reveals his self to us through His law.

STAFF MEETING ROOM - I was running late.

It was the beginning of the summer after I graduated, and I hadn’t a job. At all. I did have a job the week before, but my boss, a born-again Nazi, didn’t feel it necessary to train me in how to clean and refurbish electronics. “You’ll figure it out, eventually,” he’d said.

Well, at the end of two weeks, I hadn’t figured it out. I’d broken VCRs, ruined car CD player pickups, and zapped myself countless times on televisions. My boss called me into his office, lectured me on how I should have learned on my own how to do something he promised to teach me in my interview, and let me go… permanently. My head, still smoking from the jolt of a TV, seemed to mirror my feelings.

But thankfully, it was the beginning of summer, and I still had time to look for a quick job. I explored the job market in Junction City, Kansas, finding few opportunities. Mowing the lawn at my old academy was an option, as was working grounds at the hospital. While those two options would work, I kept looking, praying for the diamond-in-the-rough job that no one had applied for.

And then, I found it. Cracker Barrel, one of my family’s favorite restaurants, was looking for servers, and I jumped at the chance. I called them up and was surprised to hear that they could interview me right then. An applicant hadn’t shown up, and they had an open spot. “Drive over as quickly as you can,” they’d said.

And I did. I hopped in my Batmobile, my 1998 red Volkswagen New Beetle, and dashed towards the restaurant. I dodged around two-lane traffic, accelerated on yellow lights, and performed rolling “California stops” on every Stop sign I saw. Time was running out…

As I turned onto the last road, I could see my goal up ahead. I rushed down the street and was about ready to pull into the parking lot when I saw a sight that made my skin crawl: there, in my rearview mirror, red and blue flashing lights. I slammed my forehead against the steering wheel and pulled over to the side of the road. It was only then I noticed the road sign, halfway behind a bush, laughing in front of me: Speed limit enforced by radar.

Long story short, I had only been going 7 miles over the 20mph speed limit, and I got off with a warning. I was late for the interview, but it didn’t matter. They had already found the person they wanted and were simply going through the motions with me. I pulled myself off my chair, shook the managers hand, and headed for the car with my double whammy – 0 jobs, 1 almost-ticket.

Was I in the wrong with driving 27mph down the road? It depends on what road I was on. Down a normal city street, I’m perfectly obeying the law. Down my street I got nailed on, going way too fast. Down the highway, I’ll get pulled over for going too slow. It’s the same speed, but different outcomes.

How was it that I broke the law, but the other 99% of drivers out there didn’t? They probably felt, instinctively, that this was a slower road. Most of the traffic eked along, and our surroundings were wide-open, so a cop could pop out of his hiding place to hit you with a penalty. Had I not been in a hurry, had I had my mind on the road and not on other things, there never would have been any trouble.

Built in all of us is an automatic-speed limit detector, put in by God. It doesn’t matter if you’re from Kansas or Kenya, Manhattan or Micronesia, you still feel the same law, right and wrong. God instructs all men with the law he placed on their hearts

    14When outsiders who have never heard of God's law follow it more or less by instinct, they confirm its truth by their obedience.

    15They show that God's law is not something alien, imposed on us from without, but woven into the very fabric of our creation. There is something deep within them that echoes God's yes and no, right and wrong. (Romans 2:14-15)

God has given us a built-in lawbook. If we hang onto it, we’ll benefit greatly. Or as it’s written in Job 27:6,

    6I'm holding fast to my integrity and not loosening my grip-- and, believe me, I'll never regret it.

Today, I challenge you to try and notice when you make a gut-call: when you do something right, just because you know it’s right. It’s not in Bible, necessarily, or the constitution or the handbook, but you still know it’s what Jesus would do.


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