Service: Cultivating An Others-Oriented Heart

Day 1 of 7 • This day’s reading


Day 1:  Control

We live in the future, from the technology we wear to the instant access to knowledge over the World Wide Web. I can easily say at this moment we are borderline on becoming The Jetsons cartoon. I think of my grandmother Bonnie May, when she was a child in rural Tennessee, and she and her family saw a car for the first time. They too saw humanity advancing at a rapid pace. In her lifetime, she has seen the invention of radar, polaroid and digital cameras, helicopters, microwaves, space shuttles, and computers, among many other inventions. Thinking about her life in this capacity makes me wonder what the world will look like or have created when I am her age.

One invention I am absolutely looking forward to is the self-driving car, with the amount of accidents on the road due to negligence and distraction (not to mention DUI cases). Our roads would be safer and we'd get where we're going faster if we just took our hands off the wheel (provided the car can safely take control). Not to mention the convenience of telling your car where you want to go and then watching a movie or checking your email until you arrive securely at your destination. 

An early study on self-driving cars conducted at the University of San Diego found that in the beginning it was not the sensors, computers, or electronics that were the problem; it was actually the human. When the car would slow down for traffic or to recalibrate speeds, the human behind the wheel would take control by grabbing the wheel. As a result, the car would perform less than optimally, and the ride was subsequently interrupted. The test driver was simply fearful and mistrusted the car; his lack of faith in the technology inhibited his experience. 

What would it look like if you fully trusted Jesus, not just in your words, but in action? What would your life look like if you applied verses like Matthew 6:25-34 to your life and never looked back? Jesus is asking you to let go of the wheel, to stop relying on what you see or think you know and allow Him to take hold of your life. A life trusting fully in Him starts with relinquishing control, committing your life and plans to the Lord, and allowing Him to work out all things for the good for those who love Him (see Romans 8:28).

I know firsthand that's easier said than done. In the spring of 2015, I had left the band Anberlin so I could be home with my family more and pursue other passions. I had three jobs lined up that allowed me to work from home, but just nine months later all three were gone. One was outsourced, one company went under, and the other turned into a sales job, which was out of my wheelhouse. I felt lost; I thought maybe I had misheard God. Months later, I was stressed because so little income was coming in; we were burning through savings and I couldn't sleep without grinding my teeth and clenching my hands. 

One night I felt a tug on my spirit. It was three in the morning, and I felt pressed to consider my infant daughter sleeping soundly in the next room. Does she wonder where her next meal is coming from? Does she question if this roof will still be over her head tomorrow? Does she stay awake at night nervous she might not have any clothes to wear tomorrow? The answer was a resounding no. Jesus' words came to me: "If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him!" (Matthew 7:11, NIV).

We can trust a God who has never failed. We can hand over jurisdiction of our lives to a Savior who has our best interests in mind. Give your future over to Him, trusting with your thoughts and actions these familiar words: "Lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths" (Proverbs 3:5-6, NKJV).


Psalm 91

Philippians 4:6-7

Isaiah 55:8-11