Growing up, my bike was my main form of transportation around the neighborhood. To the swimming pool, to a friend’s house, or for leisure on an otherwise boring day, you could find me roaming the Broadacres streets seeing what kind of juvenile tomfoolery I could find.
What did I take for granted? The fact that my bike worked. To be honest, I’m not sure how much maintenance my dad did, and how much he got done at the local bike shop. Nonetheless, it was taken care of for me. I never thought to learn bike maintenance.
Fast forward 25 years and here I am teaching bike maintenance to kids at our summer camp, Camp Skillz. When I tell people that’s what I did at camp, the response is generally, “That’s such a good idea.” I can’t take credit for the idea, but alas, I was the one entrusted with the task of teaching it to over 100 kids.
Maintenance is one of those concepts that is a good, responsible idea in theory, but requires a lot of discipline in practice. Maintenance of our body or our shoes, maintenance of our car or home, even maintenance of our relationships. Almost everything that is a constant in our lives requires maintenance.
But if I’m to be transparent here, maintenance isn’t something that comes naturally to me. I get impatient with things that don’t just work as I want them to. And I’m not endowed with the natural confidence to just figure out how to make them work. Whew. I know, embarrassing to admit as a grown man.
Occasionally, after my wife and I come together and conquer the beast that is our bedroom mess, I declare to her, “Alright, now it’s just about maintenance.” Again, great idea in theory, not for the faint of heart in practice.
But gosh, I think the value of maintenance is one of the best things we can teach our kids. Not just the hard skills of how to maintain a bike, but the heart behind maintenance. The patience, forethought, and care that should go into keeping up the quality of something. We live in a world where things get easily discarded.
I’m reminded of the many places in God’s Word where we as believers are told to be sober-minded, to be alert in prayer, to be always in the Spirit and guarding against the flesh. The maintenance required in being a healthy spiritual person also requires discipline. It requires devoting time and energy into connecting to God and perceiving how He is leading us to take action.
People are different in this regard. As a person who isn’t very habitual, I’ve really worked to schedule time before my day gets started to reflect on the previous day, consider my upcoming day, and pray for those who I’m connected to. For me, it helps me to write things down to keep my prayers focused.
Regardless, the calling to walk in the Spirit is not something that happens accidentally. You have to work at it. If you are dealing with anxiety, consider what the Bible says about anxiety. If you need more strength, learn what the Bible says regarding the source of our strength. Let God’s Word inspire you. Stay connected to him throughout the day as you ask yourself, “What is God trying to teach me in this situation?”
These times affect our sensitivity to the LORD and thus affect the way in which we carry out our day-to-day responsibilities. Whether it be raising kids, working at your job, taking on a volunteer opportunity or spending time with a friend, you will find that if you have made time to connect with the LORD prior to these things it can become a very different, more dynamic experience.
From small to large, if we are maintaining our spiritual selves, we are more available to be used by God to do his good work and make him proud. Perhaps if more of us were maintained, we'd be more alert to the endless possibilities of how to make the most of our time, how to teach kids, and how important a thing like maintenance really is.