September 25, 2021

September 25, 2021

September 25, 2021

Gary C. Clark
Laity
Tennessee Valley District

 

Matthew 5:19-20

19 Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.

How’s My Driving
Devotion

            I have friends who never drive faster than the posted speed limit. They consider it a “witness.” I admire their faith and their devotion to showing their obedience to God for all to see, but it’s really irritating to ride with them or drive behind them!
            My driving habits bend the rules a bit.  I may not be a good representative for Christ while on the highway. It’s a flaw in my Christianity that my wife and I are working on, but for now I probably should not hang a fish symbol on my vehicle.
            Most people think the speed limits indicate the highest safe operating speed that they can handle. Most of us also think we are Mario Andretti. What most do not understand is that “safe operating speed” is usually determined by sight distance. The speed  limit is not a measure of your ability to handle your vehicle, rather it is a statement of how much time you have to react if a child steps in front of your car. This is calculated based on trees and other obstructions to line of sight near the road including length of horizontal curves and vertical curves (hills) that limit how far you can see. The purpose of the speed limit is to protect the people along the road.  The speed limit is not there to be an inconvenience that requires us to leave the house earlier.
           
Interstate highways have gentle curves and grades, separation of lanes, no driveways and lots of clear land between the edge of the road and fence. This allows higher safe speeds by having really long sight distances. We can, of course, choose to drive as fast as we want - unless we see a State Trooper.  If the Trooper sees us first, he may pull us over. Then our disobedience has placed a police officer in danger.
            A traffic stop is one of the most dangerous activities for police.  As such, obeying the traffic laws supports and protects our police and keeps them (and ourselves) out of harm’s way.
           
Yet, if we obey the law to avoid a ticket then we are no more righteous than the Pharisees. They obeyed the laws to avoid punishment and fulfill checklists. They did this in public to show how righteous and important they were.
             If we protect the lives of children and police officers we are more righteous than the Pharisees. Driving the speed limit then ceases to be an irritation and becomes a witness, a light on a candle stick that shines before all men and glorifies our Father in Heaven.
            Jesus called on us obey the law. Scripture clearly instructs us to be good citizens and obey local laws. This passage tells us the importance of our witness by example. Whether sitting in church, talking with friends or flying down the highway, we are all lights on a candle stick and cities on a hill that all can see.

Prayer

Father God, grant us the wisdom to understand the purpose of the law and the humility to trust the ones we cannot understand. Amen