Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Small but Significant

The tune seems to be getting all too familiar. "You need to bring your car in to be looked at." Yesterday it was the brakes on the front wheels, and considering that the front wheels do close to 75% of our vehicle's braking, making sure they were in working order seemed like a sensible idea, as the alternative of having the car in front of you do your braking would be much more of a hassle than it's worth.

Now I am not mechanically inclined, and it is not common for me to just take pieces off my car and fix them, so when it does happen that I am in a place where I can see the pieces that make my car work the way it's supposed to, I figure "Well it's going to be awhile before this happens again, let's take a look." And sure enough, a mechanic that I have come to know through a good friend said he'd look at it, and I took the opportunity to see what the brakes of a 2004 Hyundai Santa Fe looks like.

I was amazed at just how small, and seemingly insignificant some of the parts were. To think that when they, all working together, makes a 4500 lb vehicle traveling highway speed stop. Yet, there was a problem. Even though these parts were small, because they weren't working the way they were supposed to if I didn't take care of it there would be some BIG problems.

Apparently, on one of the rotors, part of the caliper had become stuck and it was causing the brake pad to wear down unevenly, nearly metal on metal which I am told is a bad thing. And while the other side wasn't as bad, it wasn't quite good either. So while it was tedious work for the gentleman doing the work for me, he made sure that each part was in working order and put it all back together. I was amazed that no little screw was left out. He knew where each one went.

Yet there was still a little bit of a problem. One of the screws had a bit of a burr in it from where it had been worked on before. The mechanic had noticed it and made mention of it, but did not think it would be a big problem when putting it all back together. So when it was all put back together and he had me drive the vehicle a couple miles down the road and a couple miles back to see if it all was in proper working order, he seemed very surprised to see as much smoke coming from the brakes as there was. He had said that smoke will come off a new set of brake pads initially, but he noticed something more, that the brakes were unusually hot for only going a couple of miles. So we pulled it back into the garage and discovered that screw, with the burr in it, was causing the pad to be too tight up to the rotor, and that had I driven any further my brand new brakes would have caught fire. He ground down the burr, set everything right, and we tried the brakes again but with much better results the second time.

What is the point of all this?

The size of something doesn't determine its importance. We might think that a little sin is okay in our lives, that it's not making a big impact and nobody really is going to notice. But there are many times in scripture where a small sin has great big consequences. 

Take for example Achan. On the occasion of Jericho's destruction he took some of the spoils of battle. The problem was nothing was to be spared. Israel began suffering defeats and it was determined that a violation of God's command had been made. Achan was soon discovered with the spoils of war in his tent and he and his family were killed because of it.

Or King David with Bathsheba. In the time when kings went off to war, David was relaxing around the palace when his eyes saw another man's wife. She was beautiful, he summoned her, they slept together, and she became pregnant. When her husband, Uriah, who was an honorable man serving in the army, refused to take pleasure in his wife's company as it wasn't proper, David's recourse was to have him killed in battle and marry her. But he too was found out.

Even in the New Testament we see from Galatians 5 that a little leaven will leaven the entire lump of dough, leaven being a picture of sin. James talks about the relative size of a rudder on a ship when compared to the other parts, but it steers the ship despite its size.

Though something may seem rather small and seemingly insignificant, that is not an indication that it is any less important than the big pieces. A little sin in someone's life is not tolerable when it comes to a holy and righteous God. Jesus came to cleanse us of all sin. It is not okay for us to say "Well I sin in word, thought, and deed but God still loves me." God came to cleanse us of all sin, and He will have us completely or not at all.

Neither one of us thought that a little burr could have caused my brakes to catch fire. I guess it goes to show that small but significant really is the truth.

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