The engine fired loud and continuous into my hands as I clutched the tiny roadster for the very first time. Power was at my fingertips that spoke of the unnatural performance that was lying just a few feet away under the cherry red-scooped hood. Was this going to be short-lived excitement of passing days of youthful exuberance? I hoped not. Moments earlier I had just finished paying for the tiny car and now while darkness surrounded me, I had the enjoyment of driving it home, where a garage was waiting for its new resident.
There was a small crowd gathered as I fumbled around trying to figure out what each button and switch accomplished. Gone are the days, except in vintage cars, where you must flip switches, pull levers, and push buttons to get an automobile to move. Those around me were asking if I was fearful of driving the “thing” as they called it, home without having had the chance to give it a complete checkout? Within me was a sense of contentment in anticipation of the ride. My mind flashed at the other machines I had considered: Spyder, Cobra 427, Snake, and Invader all with their ominous monikers spoke of prowess and power. Strangely within me was a peace, a sense of guidance, or perhaps contentment that reminded me of days gone by when I had driven a similar machine.
I encouraged those around after fumbling to find reverse; and backed it out of the space where it had been displayed. Once it was moving forward and I was applying that which I had learned some twenty-five years earlier, thoughts of uncertainty ceased. Humorous print ads and commercial slogans bounced back across my mind. One ad was true, which spoke of “Your Mother Wouldn’t Like It!” and I could see my wife as I pulled off a little bit fearful that her usually levelheaded husband, had just taken off in a car that would fit inside her family car.
Sounds bristled as I shook the machine down. “Silky smooth and smokin!” By the time I reached the fourth speed it was hauling and I was holding on. It was hard not to smile, since the wind pushed through the cockpit. My clothes were flapping me to death as laughter reminded me just how fun it was and still is to enjoy such a ride. Steal string guitars and acoustical instruments played in my head since I could not figure out in the dark how to turn on the radio. Lyrics rocked my cranial cavity like, “Do You Want to Drive My Car”, “409”, “Fun Fun Fun”, and “Surfin Safari” all flashed around my mind and caused me laughter. By the time I reached home my face honestly hurt from the smile of experiencing such a spirited drive. My hair was whipped and what little I have was all tangled. Like sailors drawn mysteriously to the sea, enthusiastically I drove her (all sports cars have female names, go figure) into her new berth, having sampled the sweet flavor of a ride that was so complete.
The Enjoying the Ride principle is simply the principle of joyful contentment right in the midst of all that you are doing. Enjoying the ministry for me is like that drive. It is contentedly enjoying the ride of ministry right where God has planted me. For the called of God, it is the God given strength to be satisfied with the loving supplying of God in any and every situation. Though the road of ministry is often difficult because of its rocks and boulders, the strains and struggles, or even the twists and turns, if you keep on keeping on, you can make it. Yes there are times when potholes are all around us. There are surprises, accidents, and detours that wait for us along the road. We might sweat a little and sway a little, but remember; every road has an end. If we hold on in the midst of the strain, God will bring us to the end. To really grasp the principle, we must be aware of the warning signs. Failure to listen will cause us to fall or perhaps even fall!
One last bit of information about my ride. Listening to the engine is crucial, just a few miles from my house; I stalled the British roadster out and had a rough spot in my enjoying the ride practice. The engine had started to run a little rough and I had a wonderful man stop by and give me a roadside lift in the form of resetting my carburetor. Undaunted and appreciative, I thanked the man for his help and the good advice he gave me about the machine and off I went again with joy, only one last leg until home!
Enjoying the Ride Principle
“Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice” (Philippians 4:4).
One of the reappearing themes of the book of Philippians is that of Joy! It is mentioned in various forms over nineteen times in four brief chapters. To put it simply, Paul admonishes us that a Christ-like mind can bring us Christian joy and contentment. Even in the midst of prison Paul was still joyful. In perhaps the most uncomfortable of circumstances, he was still found full of joy.
There are times granted in our lives when we enjoy the ride more than other times. If we are not careful we will allow things to come into our lives that cause us to loose our joy. Worry has been for many one of those things that rob us of the joy. Which is probably why the original Old English word for worry was to strangle. Again contentment and joy will keep us humble in lives lot and will free us from strangulation.
When you enjoy the work of the ministry there is that mark of joy for all to see. It has that quality of inner gladness and deep-seated pleasure with what one is doing. Ministry and service should be exactly that. Fun, full of pleasure, and gladness all rolled up into “you”! It is that deeper sense of assurance and confidence that ignites a cheerful and rejoicing heart. That heart that cheers then leads to continual rejoicing behavior. I have said it this way for years: “I choose joy!” In ministry, we can either enjoy the ride or we can gripe and complain at every junction. That might be alright for some, but for me I choose God’s joy!” A friend of mine often tells me that even when I am down, who would know?
Have you ever stopped to notice that the world’s joy is plagued by incompleteness? There is always something that is lacking, unfulfilled, or missing. The world’s joy brings no sense of complete assurance, confidence, or satisfaction. But it is God’s joy that is complete. Take a quick look at qualities of joy found in the Enjoy the Ride Principle for Pastor’s, Preachers, and Church Revitalizers:
God divinely gives Joy and Contentment alone. It is the joy that our roots are based in the Lord. We should learn to rejoice always!
Along life’s journey here are some things that will help us become more secure in enjoying the ride:
Right Praying (Phil. 4:6-7).
We must see the greatness and majesty of God! Bowing before Him as He searches our hearts and minds.
Right Thinking (Phil 4:8).
Joy and contentment involve the mind learning to think rightly. Wrong thinking leads to wrong feelings while right thinking leads to right feelings.
Right Living (Phil 4:9).
Right living is a yielded heart and mind to the Spirit of God. Such will always bring peace.
The great thing about rejoicing is that it places and keeps a person in the presence of Jesus Christ! No matter what may confront us and no matter how terrible the trial, we know that Christ Jesus our Lord is looking us after. So we know that what ever we face it will never conquer or overcome us. Jesus Christ will give us the supernatural power and strength to over come it. So walk rejoicing in the Lord no matter what confronts us and remember to Enjoy the Ride (Romans 8:35-39)!
Some pastors, preachers, and church revitalizers might be saying, “Someday I will enjoy the ride, but for now I just can’t. I am too busy with the work of the Lord to have the time. ” Ministry is enjoyment! Our Calling is Joyful! Take a moment and look at the Enjoying the Ride Principle. So if you have always told yourself you were going to enjoy the ride, make sure you do not wait too long. You will be better for it and so will the people God has called you to serve!