Remember Drivers Ed class? Remember Behind-the-Wheel? In the “Student Driver” series, Jeremy shares some of the profound similarities between learning to drive and the road to discipleship. Jeremy writes from the unique vantage point of both a certified Driving Instructor and a pastor. This excerpt is called “Fatal Distractions.” Buckle up!
The number one cause of all automobile accidents is driver distraction and inattentiveness. A study released in April 2006 by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that distractions, including drowsy driving, are a contributing factor in 8 out of every 10 police-reported traffic crashes, or an estimated 4 million crashes per year. A study in May 2001, by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, found the most common distractions were:
- Things outside the car (29.4%)
- Adjusting a CD or the radio (11.4%)
- Other occupants (10.9%)
- Moving objects in the car (4.3%)
- Other objects in the car (2.9%)
- Vehicle controls (2.8%)
- Eating, drinking (1.7%)
- Cellular phones (1.5%)
- Smoking (0.9%)
- Other distractions (25.6%)
- Unknown distractions (8.6%)
(Author’s note: This post was obviously written before texting took off.)
Take your eyes off the road for only a second and that’s all it takes. Likewise, disciples of the kingdom must not allow themselves be distracted from their mission. We must continually fix our eyes on the road ahead.
Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God (Heb 12:2 MSG).
We must keep our hands on the wheel at all times, never turning around and reaching for things in the backseat. Or, in the language of Jesus’ day: “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62). The world is a carnival of competing cares and it is easy to let lesser things take our eyes off the goal toward which God is calling us. Following Paul’s lead, we must forget what’s in the backseat and focus on the road ahead, “pressing on toward the finish line” to receive “the prize of the heavenly call of God in Jesus Christ” (Phil 3:13-14).