The rider and the driver

I remember as a kid riding the bus to school when I lived in Mexico. I’d sit by the window and look out as we door to school and then back home. I enjoyed the variety of scenery along the way. There was the palm lined boulevard of Palmas. There was the busy traffic on Reforma. There was the turn at Ejercito with all the vendors and the big gas station. Then we passed the University and to finally arrive at the American School compound. It was a fun ride with my friends. We did it twice a day. It was a part of my life.

One day we had some family from out of town visiting us. They wanted to see the school we attended. However, my mom wouldn’t be able to go up with us. So she suggested that I show them the way there. I knew how to get there because I had watched everyday as I was in the bus. We headed out with the guests to see the school. We made it to Palmas and took our right turn. I recognized Reforma and knew to turn right.

But somewhere along Reforma and the next turn I got confused. What I thought I remembered from my excursion each day I forgot when I was directing. When I had to get there myself I was much more unsure about the route. That day I choked. I really couldn’t do it.

This is what happens to us all sometimes. When we are not in the driver seat it is much easier to think we know how to get there. From the vantage point of a participant we can fool ourselves thinking we can do what the athlete is doing on the field. Actually doing something is so much different than watching someone do it.

This is the principle that we see in Luke 22. This is the scene of the Last Supper. Jesus has just told the disciples that he must suffer and die. He tells Peter that Satan has asked to sift Peter. At this Peter believes he can take the difficult road ahead and retorts.

33 “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.” NIV

Peter thinks he’s ready. He’s watched Jesus live a courageous life. He’s watched him battle the Pharisees over and over and particularly this last week. Peter has backed up Jesus. He has stood with him as he watched him subdue demons. He has seen plenty and heard a lot. He’s even been sent out on some missionary tours with the other disciples. He thinks he’s ready. Jesus knows differently.

34 Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.”

Peter really wasn’t ready. He thought he could do it, but he was not prepared completely. The sad fact was that he was woefully lacking. A few hours from Jesus’ words Peter is weeping because of his failure. He knew then that Jesus was right. He wasn’t ready.

We too must remember the lesson of the rider and the driver. Just because we are in the car doesn’t mean we are prepared to drive. Leading and living courageously are hard things. Being a passenger in life doesn’t necessarily mean we’re ready for the wheel. Humility would have helped Peter that night. Eventually Jesus knew he’d be ready. In fact, in about a month Jesus would be handing over the wheel to Peter after being encouraged and equipped. That night of the Last Supper Peter needed to understand the difference between the driver and the rider.

One Response to “The rider and the driver”
  1. Thinking we are ready before we are is common. I think at times it is because we don’t want to pay our dues. I can recall saying many times, “I could do that if I was able to put in the time to train.” Well duh, thats the hard part. Preparing and “riding” till you have earned the right to drive is the challenge.

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