November 3, 1992
A trouble-shooter for a major implement dealer tells a story about some complaints they received on a new tractor. While this tractor was receiving rave responses from nearly everyone, there were a few farmers from one part of the country who thought it was the worst model on the market. They kept wearing out gear boxes. After replacing the defective parts under warranty, sometimes two or three times for the same farmer, the company decided to send their trouble-shooter to find out what was happening.
This fellow discovered these farmers clearing land, including tree stump removal. They fastened a long chain around each stump, hooked the other end to the tractor, put it in gear, then took off at full speed. Just before the tractor reached the end of the chain and reared into the air, the driver jumped off. If the stump was not yanked free, they repeated the process.
Now any farmer, and a few of us who are not farmers, know that tractors and gear boxes are not made to withstand such treatment. After so much of it, the equipment will break down. The trouble-shooter had to carefully explain that in order to resolve the problem the farmers were having with their tractors. He said he now uses the story when folks come to him with their problems, explaining that we too break down because so many of us abuse our lives like those farmers abused their tractors.
He says people were originally made to live in a perfect environment with a relationship of dependence on God to meet all their needs. Instead, we live in an imperfect world where God is left out of most of our lives, but because we were not designed for such living conditions, we need Him even more than Adam and Eve did in paradise.
We see the wreckage all around: shattered marriages, dysfunctional families, corrupt governments, business failures, crime, and irresponsible behavior; people living independently from their Maker. Even though suggestions and plans for what to do instead-of-God are almost as numerous as the negative situations, only one works: the plan for which we were designed.
According to the story of creation in Genesis, God intended man and women not only to depend on Him but to reflect His image. When humanity determined to act apart from God, sin entered the picture and the image was mangled. Oh, it can still be seen whenever people act in kindness or mercy, but independence and the effects of sin have marred our hearts, minds, choices, and life as it was intended to be.
In love and concern for us, our Manufacturer also offers a warranty regarding our defective parts, ruined by sin. He offers a “new heart” and to put a “new spirit within,” to “take the heart of stone out” and give us a heart that is soft towards Him and towards living as He made us to live.
He warns us “do not be confirmed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” That means a change in thinking made possible by receiving His wisdom and “the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16).
As for our choices, so seldom do we consult God and we so easily make selfish decisions but the Bible tells us if we turn to God, He works in us “both to will and to do His good pleasure.”
God remembers that we live best in paradise and says that someday, “the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.” Those who go back to their Manufacturer for replacement hearts, minds and decision-making abilities will undergo a radical transformation, but so will this world someday be radically transformed, “a new heaven and new earth.” In the meantime, we are responsible to stop abusing ourselves and live life the way He intended.