Owner's Manuals, Blueprints, and the Like.
I was having a conversation with Wes Kenney, on Facebook, a couple of days ago, and mentioned a post I was contemplating. He made an observation (about auto Owner's Manuals), that sealed the deal and prompted me to write some stuff.
My Toyota Prius has an impressive Owner's Manual. It has 508 pages, all oriented at making sure I know how to enjoy the car, and get the highest and best possible use out of it. And there are a number of pages printed for the seemingly express purpose of warning me against dangerous activities with the car, so that I'll be without excuse if I get it all wrong and hurt myself.
But wait .. there's MORE! There's a 24 page booklet called the "Scheduled Maintenance Guide", I'm guessing so I can take care of it to assure long life.
And even that's not all .. there's this 148 page book specifically on how to use the Navigation System, which will happily tell me how to navigate to my final destination. IF I learn how to use it.
There are some other things, too: there's a 29 page pamphlet called the "Quick Reference Guide" (I guess so I can skip the meat of the big book and just hit enough highlights to get me going...), a "2008 Navigation Quick Reference Guide" ... presumably for the same purpose, and then there's this 52 page booklet that tells me what my rights are, under the warranty.
All in all, the books are quite thorough, and came with the car. From the people who invented, designed, engineered, manufactured, delivered, and maintain my Toyota. The ones who want it to be a good example, so others will be attracted to Toyota.
Hmmm .. Designer .. Engineer .. Manufacturer .. Deliverer .. Maintainer .. Provider of Guidance .. sorta sounds like someone else I know.
Make that Some One!
From what I know, God Himself designed us, engineered us, manufactured us, delivered us, and maintains us. And guides us, in the process.
In fact, He seems to have used the entirety of His Person ... Father, Son, and Holy Spirit .. to do that!
The word of the LORD came to me, saying, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart ...(Jeremiah 1:4-5, NIV)
Unless that was a one-time-only deal, He did the same for me. Design. Engineer. Manufacture.
He is my loving God and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield, in whom I take refuge, who subdues peoples under me.(Psalms 144:2, NIV)
Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you. (Isaiah 46:4, NIV)
Sounds like my Maintenance Department, to me. Even providing Emergency Road service, apparently.
The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. (Hebrews 1:3, NIV)
Hey, not just me, either. The whole world!
Listen, my son, accept what I say, and the years of your life will be many. I guide you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths. (Proverbs 4:10-11, NIV)
Sounds like some great Guidance System, to me.
SO. The point that Wes made, in the chat, was that we're even one step more, like this, than I'd been thinking. His point was: Most people seem to leave the owner's manual in the glove compartment until something goes wrong, and then we drag it out but can't figure out how to use it.
So there we sit, broken car, too late to learn how to use the manual. Isn't that just like us?
In our own family .. Peg and I .. we've seen the results of studying up before something goes "boom". We've both had cancer, and as I told my Sunday School Class for about 8 years, the relationship .. the dependence .. we have to fall back on, in those times, is what we built up when we didn't "need it". Plain truth is, we always need to depend on the Lord, because we always do depend on Him, whether we know it or not. If we don't get familiar with Him in the good times, we're going to suffer for it in the bad ones.
Besides all the other things He did, and does, for us, Jesus also invented the term "abundant life". I'd imagine He knows what goes into one of them. And that He'd have left us instructions on how to have one.
He does. And He did. So get to know the Manual. You'll get to know Him in the process, far better than I'll ever get to know Toyota.