My dad worked for General Motors. The old GM plant in St. Louis used to build Chevy trucks. Our neighbor also worked there and I remember the day he bought himself a brand new Chevrolet pick-up truck. It was a beauty and I can still picture in my mind running across the yards to go see the shiny new truck. It had the doors and hood open and stood proudly on display for the whole neighborhood to see. I was proud of the truck because my dad worked in the place that built it. Our neighbor was proud because it was assembled by his friends. It was kind of a special truck to everyone involved.
I have grown up thinking that there is nothing better than a Chevy truck when it comes to a vehicle with a bed on it. I have owned a few of them and liked them all. I have done a great deal of my driving behind the wheel of a Chevrolet.
I’ve always kind of felt like that other than the Mustang, Ford was kind of useless. I have made jokes about Ford standing for “Found On Road Dead” or “Fix Or Repair Daily”. I still bring up the concept of Ford’s “Better Ideas” that always seemed to refer to some completely illogical engineering found on a Ford of one make and model or another. I’ve argued about the reasons a Chevy truck was better and a Ford truck was worse till I was blue in the face. I’ve gone to great lengths to convince a Ford person that he should be a Chevy person.
Ironically, I currently have a Ford F-350 that is currently broke down and would love to trade it for a Chevy right about now.
As I sit and write this morning I can think of a total of zero people who I successfully convinced. Most dyed-in-the-wool Ford people have fond memories of time in an old Ford truck with their grandpa or their dad that no argument is going to change, no matter how bad a Ford truck may be. A hard-core Chevrolet guy has memories of spending time with friends fixing up that first junky Chevy truck that may have never run and no argument is going to keep him from ever saying a bad word about that truck. In truth, no one has ever come up with the perfect pick-up truck and no one can provide infallible, conclusive evidence that Chevrolet is wonderful and that Ford stinks like an outhouse.
I grew up doing to church brand “A”. We had a list of things that made us brand “A”. If we stuck to this list of things we were fine and would go to heaven. I had pastors at my church that would preach to us why we should stick to this list. They would also preach about why the church across the street, brand “B” was destined for eternal damnation if they didn’t conform to our list.
I went to school and was friends with several brand “B” people but I knew I shouldn’t expect to see them in heaven because their list was wrong. Our pastor also preached about brand “C”, where the majority of the people where I lived attended. Their list was not only inadequate but many of the “don’ts” on our list were a part of their church functions!
So I heard a lot of arguments about who was right and wrong and lots of divisional lines were drawn hard and fast so that these different brands didn’t intermingle. When they did get together someone seemed to always start and argument.
Oh, I almost forgot to mention brand “P”. We had neighbors that were a part of this church and they would come over to our house to watch television because they didn’t have one and they would also tell us that we were going to go to hell. I had no desire to ever visit brand “P”.
Romans 14:1 Accept other believers who are weak in faith, and don’t argue with them about what they think is right or wrong.
I grew up to be very judgmental and argumentative with others. I had to make others feel wrong and convince them that I am right. Then I would complain that I had no friends. Why is it that people who believe in Christ are so threatened by others that believe in Christ and do it a little bit different?
Romans 14:2 For instance, one person believes it’s all right to eat anything. But another believer with a sensitive conscience will eat only vegetables. 3 Those who feel free to eat anything must not look down on those who don’t. And those who don’t eat certain foods must not condemn those who do, for God has accepted them. 4 Who are you to condemn someone else’s servants? Their own master will judge whether they stand or fall. And with the Lord’s help, they will stand and receive his approval.
If I am to convince anyone of anything it is to study God’s Word and to follow what it says. I have to keep my mouth shut unless they make themselves accountable to me. They are steadfastly following God and not me.
Romans 8:10 So why do you condemn another believer? Why do you look down on another believer? Remember, we will all stand before the judgment seat of God.
This judgment seat isn’t where God says we go to heaven or hell. It is where we stand before Him and give account as his servants. We “all” stand before Him. What I have to worry about is not how many believers I changed from brand “A” or “B” but what kind of job did I do as a Christian? How many believers did I build up and actually help?
This argumentative and divisive nature of mine does not come from God living in me. I have to see that and admit it and root it out of my life.
God, don’t let me lose my focus on you and place it on others. Take away my judgmental nature and give me a spirit of cooperation. Help me to lose my desire to define Your Kingdom but give me the wisdom to further it. Amen.