The Instruction Book

“Eleven hundred dollars,” the gentleman said. For a 1972 Oldsmobile in the year 1985—36,000 actual miles on the odometer—previous owner an older lady who had used the car only for errands around town.

After looking over the car and a moment of mental mathematics, Glenn said, “We’ll take it.” We had been looking at smaller used cars in the $4000 price range, but we could pay cash for this one and the difference in price would pay for the extra gasoline we would be using.

What amazed me every time I opened the hood of the car was the expanse of the labyrinth of parts, tubes and belts that made the car run. With a simple turn of a key and a step on a pedal, I had access to power developed over years of engineering expertise and put together by who knows how many machinists and technicians in how many shops and factories all over America. But I did have to turn the key.

I studied physics in college, and I do have a general idea of how a gasoline-powered engine runs. But what would you do if you stepped out your door tomorrow morning and found a luxurious four-wheeled vehicle like none you had never seen before? Taped to the window is a neatly stenciled card with your name on it. You go to the car, look it over, rub your hand across the glossy-painted fender, and open the door. But the dashboard doesn’t look like anything you have ever seen before. How do you start the motor? You call in your family and your neighbors, but they can only scratch their heads in wonder. You call in the automobile experts in your city and they push and pull some buttons and levers but nothing works. Wouldn’t you be “moving heaven and earth” to find the person who designed the car, the one person who would know how to turn on the power to make the car go?

Now, suppose you did discover what seems to be an instruction book under the front seat of the car. You start to read it, but among some statements that seem easy to understand, there are others that don’t seem so clear. You show the book to your neighbors and friends, but they’re not impressed. They begin to cast doubts on the authenticity of the book. “This is the wrong book.” Or, “You don’t need a book. Keep trying things, the car knows how to run its self.” You take the book to some automobile engineers. They are glad to see the book and they take it and study it and come back with an armload of thick volumes they have written which are even harder to understand than the book you found.

This is a picture of what is happening with the human race. Man is a unique and marvelous creature. Whoever or whatever created him must be even more intelligent than man himself. There is a Book that claims to be the instruction book, but we are being told that it is not the instruction book. The Book is being ridiculed and slandered by friends and neighbors who have not even read it. Volumes have been written about it, but these books don’t even agree with one another. Worse yet, the prevailing theory in much of the world is that each “car” knows how to run itself. And we do get started after a fashion and run about crashing into each other, hurting ourselves and each other.

You, my dear friend, are a marvelous being. If the Bible is the revelation of the Creator of this world and of the human race as it claims to be, it should be possible for you to understand enough of it to make your life run right. The Bible is not about a machine. It is about a Person-to person relationship. Through the teachings in the book, you as a person can make contact with the Person who created you and live each day connected to the Power who is unlimited, who understands you, and who is always present. But you do have to “turn the key.”

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