The right tool for the job

Published 9:41 am Friday, February 18, 2011

Any of you who travel often know the hazards of eating and driving.

I average 40,000 miles a year just driving alone. According to a New York Times study, hot coffee, dripping ice cream cones, Big Gulp sodas, super-sized french fries and burgers with the works are being devoured behind the wheel, giving new meaning to the phrase “feeding onto the parkway.”

Accidents involve drinks spilling, sticky or greasy mess getting on the steering wheel, trying to prevent a spill, attempting to clean a mess caused by a spill or drip, food that requires more than one hand to consume; such as salads, tacos or soups and trying to recover dropped food, such as fries.

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Hagerty Classic Insurance, based in Traverse City, Mich., has studied the foods most commonly eaten in cars and has ranked them by popularity, degree of distraction and degree of difficulty in eating them with one hand on the wheel.

Here, ranked from bad to worst, are the foods and the hazards they create: Chocolate-Whatever you touch — steering wheel, shift lever, clothing or hair — will carry fingerprints. Drivers’ instinctive reactions are to clean the offending stains immediately, which then distracts them from the road ahead.

Soft drinks-spills cause distractions. Filled doughnuts-problems are caused when the cream or jelly fillings ooze out, distracting the driver. Fried chicken-grease gets on the steering wheel, and distraction follows. “Just because I am a Pastor doesn’t mean I am reflected in this study!” Barbecue-Any barbecued food.

The problem is the resulting drips. Juicy hamburgers-ditto. “OK That does reflect me!” Chili-Includes chili dogs and sloppy Joes. “Steering chili-covered foods to your mouth while steering a car around the corner requires more dexterity than humans possess,” Hagerty says. Tacos

“Here’s a foodstuff that can disassemble itself without much help while being consumed,” the insurer says. “One good road bump, and the seat of your car looks like a salad bar.” Coffee-This is definitely me! “Coffee spills are the worst because the drivers invariably try to make instant cleanups while driving,” the insurance company says.

So anyway a few weeks ago I am driving to Columbus and stop by Tim Horton’s in Circleville very early in the morning. A cup of coffee, yogurt parfait, and a bottle of water for breakfast. Terri would be so proud of me! Right food but the wrong tools! It wasn’t until I got back on the road that I discovered that instead of a spoon for my yogurt all they gave me was a knife!

For future reference if it ever comes up in a conversation, you can eat yogurt with a knife, and drive at the same time. “Please don’t report me to AAA” The point is, I had the right food, it was good for my health, low in calorie count, but the wrong tools to eat with.

So what are the right tools for the spiritual side of life? First off I would say the tool of studying God’s word. According to James Hamilton, there are two kinds of Bible readers — those who skim the surface and those who dig deep. He describes them by comparing them to two common insects.

He writes, “One is remarkable for its imposing plumage, which shows in the sunbeams like the dust of gems; as you watch its jaunty gyrations over the fields and its minuet dance from flower to flower, you cannot help admiring its graceful activity, for it is plainly getting over a great deal of ground. “But in the same field there is another worker, whose brown vest and businesslike, straightforward flight may not have arrested your eye.

His fluttering neighbor darts down here and there, and sips elegantly wherever he can find a drop of ready nectar; but this dingy plodder makes a point of alighting everywhere, and wherever he alights he either finds honey or makes it.

If the flower-cup be deep, he goes down to the bottom; if its dragon- mouth be shut, he thrusts its lips asunder; and if the nectar be peculiar, he explores all about till he discovers it . . . His rival of the painted velvet wing has no patience for such dull and long-winded details . . . The one died last October. The other is warm in his hive, amidst the fragrant stores he has gathered.” Which type of Bible reader are you? Butterfly or bee?

Secondly I would recommend the Godly counsel of others. Someone once said, the trouble with good advice is that it usually interferes with your plans. Though when a Godly person shares advice seasoned with God’s love then we are truly benefited. Lastly I am drawn to the tool of prayer.

William Barclay wrote, when we pray, remember: 1. The love of God that wants the best for us.
2. The wisdom of God that knows what is best for us.
3. The power of God that can accomplish it. Sir George Adam Smith tells how he and his guide were climbing the Weisshorn in the Swiss Alps. It was stormy and they were making their climb on the sheltered side of the peak.

When they reached the summit, they were filled with the exhilaration. Sir George forgot about the fierce winds, leaped up and was nearly blown over the edge to the glacier below! The guide grabbed hold of him and exclaimed: “On your knees, sir. You are safe here only on your knees!” And so are we as will live for Christ.

My favorite author on the subject of prayer is E.M. Bounds. Here are a few of his words, “The central significance of prayer is not in the things that happen as results, but in the deepening intimacy and unhurried communion with God at His central throne of control in order to discover a sense of God’s need in order to call on God’s help to meet that need” So the question regarding your spiritual life is, are you using the right tools for the job?

Tim Throckmorton is pastor of Plymouth Heights Church of the Nazarene