The Route 66 Dilemma

Read: Ephesians 5:1-20

One of my favorite animated movies of all time is “Cars.” This particular scene about Route 66 relates very well to this weeks passage from Ephesians. Click on this link to watch it (it’s only 3 minutes long)…

The person who posted this scene on YouTube added, “On June 29, 1956, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed into law the National Interstate and Defense Highways Act which initiated the construction of 41,000 miles of interstate highways across America. As a result, many small towns that had once thrived along the famed east-west Route 66 were bypassed by the new high-speed interstate highway system. Faced with financial ruin, these small towns struggled to survive.”

Now, I am a big fan of the interstate system, in fact I often share my ideas of how to improve it with my family when we are on long trips. But I realize that our desire for speed and time has also robbed us of the value of slowing down to appreciate life. This is made obvious in the movie clip above.

But I wonder how this same desire for speed and time has led us down spiritual roads that are either unhealthy or dangerous? Do we fly down the interstate of life with little concern about what we might be missing on the slower, more scenic, and more friendly route? Might we be missing the Lord’s will?

R. Kent Hughes once said, “Fixing our thoughts on Jesus requires time, for true reflection cannot happen with a glance. No one can see the beauty of the country as he hurries through it on the interstate.”

As we consider Paul’s words to the church in Ephesus this week I especially want to draw your attention to verses 15-17. It says, “Be very careful, then, how you live, not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.”

Does “making the most of every opportunity” mean speeding things up in life? Some might say yes, and there is value in being productive and efficient for sure. But as I turn 45 I am beginning to realize that life is not slowing down on it’s own. Therefore, I must be intentional about doing it myself and making sure that I understand the Lord’s will and desire for my life.

I’m reminded of what Jesus told Martha in Luke 10:38-42 as she was busy doing all the duties in the house. At the same time her sister Mary simply set by Jesus’ side and listened to what he had to say. When Martha comes into the room to complain about no help, Jesus says, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed, or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

This is definitely a dilemma in our culture. The desire for more time has caused us to build new roads around some of the things that truly matter most in our lives. Yes, they do come in handy sometimes (those interstates), but let’s not forget about taking the side roads once in while (or often) that help us slow down. After all, God may be trying to tell us something in Radiator Springs (the name of the bypassed town in the movie Cars).

Make it personal: Ask yourself a couple of questions this week. What steps do I need to take to slow down and hear God’s voice? What road do I need to revisit? What area of my life is spiritually dry? How can I find Route 66 again?

Have a nice week everyone,
Glen Rhodes, Minister of Discipling and Community Life, Arthur Mennonite Church