"You just loosen this bolt and take off the cover. See how dirty the air filter is?" Greg held the dusty filter up toward the light. He dropped a clean air filter into the tray, replaced the lid, tightened the bolt.
My classmates leaned forward to watch Greg's callused hands work quickly under the car's open hood.
When I got my first car, I learned how to fill a gas tank and turn a key. No one told me to check the oil, the coolant fluid, the brake pads. For too many years I bought old, cheap cars and drove them until they croaked. Too many times I had been stranded outside the laundromat or the grocery store. My small hometown did not have a bus system. I needed a running car to get me to work and school.
I enrolled in Greg's "Do-it-yourself Car Maintenance" class. Greg showed his students how to check oil levels, change the oil and filter, gap spark plugs, change tires, and replace a battery. He lectured us about the importance of brake fluid, antifreeze, and new wiper blades.
I learned something significant from the guy with the callused hands and greasy shirt.
We have to work to take care of what is important to us.
When I take care of my car, it lasts longer and gets me where I need to go. When I nurture my friendships, I build strong relationships with people who support and encourage me. When I honor my goals and priorities, I grow and move forward toward my destination.
With regular maintenance our lives move more smoothly. Cars run better. Relationships flourish. Goals become reachable.
Neglect only leads to more problems. Cars break down. Relationships crumble. Progress stalls. When we neglect to maintain the important things long enough, we get stuck and abandoned on the side of the road.
God never leaves us alone on the roadside. When we work to maintain our faith in him, he will pick us up and drive us wherever we need to be.
What is important to you today? How do you maintain it to keep it running well?