Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Owners Manual Not Included

Dave Garrison is just a darn good guy. He loves God and loves people. He loves to hike and he loves Flatirons. Dave’s also the owner and chief counselor at Genesis Counseling, and he really helped out at Men’s Retreat this year by leading the breakout session on Anger. Dave and I were talking over coffee at IHOP this morning and he shared this great analogy on life. I thought it was so good, I asked him to write the Flatirons Men’s blog this week. Here you go…
Earlier this summer I bought a new lawn mower.  Lugged it home from the home improvement store and broke open the box.  I tossed the Owner’s Manual aside after taking a quick glance at the picture of the assembled mower on the cover.  It took me more than an hour to assemble my new, red, grass eating machine.  SUCCESS! 
Well, kind of... I had to peek at which bolt went where in the handle assembly…then fifteen minutes more to learn that I had to engage the flywheel brake just to get the darn thing to start.  It only took ten more minutes after that…and a trip to the gas station with my 2.5 plastic gas container and some small engine oil before Big Red was finally ready for his first green feast.
Later that day, friends of ours came over with their newborn and toddler for a barbeque…and of course to admire my artistic mowing abilities. They kept mentioning that kids don’t come with an owner’s manual.  Hmmm…
Lying in bed that night, after a “terse marital discussion” (a.k.a. argument) with my wife, I was thinking how cool it would be if I had the owner’s manual for her or for my own kids.  Wow! How many arguments, conflicts, and confusions that could solve!  I can see it now…Communication Problems? See Page 56.  Unexpected Problems or Customer Service? See Page 62… “Tighten this”, “Adjust that” Voila!  Relationship running smooth, smelling like fresh cut grass! Then it occurred to me, perhaps people (myself included) don’t come with an owner’s manual because WE’RE NOT THE OWNER. 
The Bible says that Jesus bought us at a price with His sacrifice on the cross.  He’s the owner…and knows what’s best.  When I take over…black smoke, backfiring, and complete malfunction aren’t too far behind.  Jesus says “Follow me”, “Come”.  He knows best.  I still struggle to trust Him, but am realizing He has the Owner’s Manual on me…and knows me better than I know myself. 
Thankfully God has provided an operator’s manual in the form of the Bible for guidance, encouragement, and “further assistance” (I’m aware sometimes I toss that manual aside as well). Big mistake when I think of all the time, energy, and heart ache I would save myself if I simply consulted the Bible first…and more often.  The Bible does say that God will lead us to green pastures (See: Psalm 23).  My job is to follow Jesus, the owner of my life, and check the Bible on a regular basis for “upkeep and maintenance”. 
Still…I think a page from my wife’s owner’s manual about “The Muffler:  Noise Reduction in Martial Conflict” would be pretty cool to have…and would come in handy more often than not…What can I say?  Pray for me.       
Dave Garrison

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