I was sitting at my desk yesterday for almost three hours accomplishing nothing. I don’t know why I persisted so long in my fruitless task. I just couldn’t seem to turn loose of a lesson that was going nowhere until I simply ran out of time and had to leave it. When my husband asked me later how my day had been I said that it had been unproductive and frustrating. I said, “I spent all day spinning my wheels.” He laughed and asked me, “Well, did you at least generate some smoke?”
I think that’s the funniest thing I’ve heard in a while because it is so perfectly true of so much of my life. Picture a race car painted up shiny, engine roaring, tires squealing, and when the smoke clears it’s still sitting at the starting line. The wheels have driven a hundred miles – at a hundred miles an hour – but the car has gone nowhere.
Maybe this will step on your toes, but I think there are a lot of us generating a lot of smoke. We talk a good talk. We dress the part. We’re very very busy. But we’re not really getting anywhere that matters. Many of us believe that the smoke is the point, but the smoke just makes us loose sight of the finish line.
If I could give you a peek at my desk calendar, or a time-lapse film of my daily life, you would be amazed by how much time I spend spinning my wheels at a hundred miles an hour. You would be even more amazed at how much smoke I can generate! But at the sad end of the day, if you could crawl into my head, you would see that I haven’t really gained any ground. I’m still sitting at the starting line. The light is green. My engine is running. My paint is shiny. My tires are spinning. But it’s all for show. I’ve been working very hard at making sure I look like a race car, rather than making sure I’m going the distance.
OK. That’s a lot of metaphor, but here’s the bottom line. We’re supposed to be getting somewhere, and that somewhere is established by God. Our finish line looks like holiness. Our track looks like obedience, and service, and active love, and forgiveness, and sacrifice. So why doesn’t my calendar reflect those as my goals for today, tomorrow and tomorrow’s tomorrows? Why do I spend my time in vain pursuits to keep up my image? Why do I chase the wind of worldly success? Why do I seek the praise of men? Because I’ve lost sight of the finish line. I’m trying to drive my Master’s car on my own course, and bless His name, He’s not letting me get anywhere in that fruitless effort. I’m just spinning my wheels and generating smoke.
So, maybe it’s time to let the rubber cool a bit. To sit and let the smoke clear. To get the finish line well in sight. To align myself with it. And then to start again with better results. Maybe then, when I hold the measuring stick against the starting line and my distance down the track, it will measure in something more than inches.
On your mark… get set…