A passenger plane the size of a 747 takes a lot of energy to move. When it’s soaring through the air the engines are generating incredible amounts of power to keep aloft. When they land, it takes an equal amount of energy to slow them down and bring them to a complete halt. It’s an impressive thing when you think of the energy required to make them move or stop.
All that energy, however, can be easily thwarted when they are at a complete stop and have to get going. Simply placing a tire chuck, a heavy rubber or plastic wedge, in front of and slightly under the tires, will make the plane next to impossible to move. It’s not that the chucks are expending any energy and actively resisting the aircraft’s motion; rather, they are directing the power expended by the engines in the wrong direction. The wedges make the tires think they should roll uphill at a rather steep angle…
…and that, combined with the great mass of the plane, is just too much for the jet engines to overcome. No matter how much power the pilot applies, with the tire chucks in place, her aircraft is going nowhere.
The idea of a massive airplane being stopped by a simple pair of tire chucks reminds me of readers getting stuck by a simple title. Yes, friends, I know of people who have been so offended by the title of a book or article they have been unable to read any further. Sometimes it’s not even the whole title. Sometimes it’s just a single word or idea that puts them off. Like a huge, heavy airplane locked in place by a few tire chucks, they are stuck by a some words.
In today’s contentious society, those words can be as simple as “The Bible”. There are many folks who have heard bad or confusing things about our sacred text. Or, they might have a passing knowledge of its content, but their view of Christianity prevents them from exploring it further. Some folks just don’t care for religion, so words like “The Bible” or “The Koran” or anything with a religious sound is enough to keep them away.
As God’s written Word, the Bible is our go-to document. We read it to know who we are, where we’ve been and where we’re going. At the same time, we can be its ambassadors by showing others what it’s about in the way we live. Not everyone learns by reading, but most can learn from the example of others. How we follow Jesus and express God’s love removes the tire chucks from the Bible so that folks can read it without ever cracking it open. What’s more, while it takes a lot of effort to move an airplane once the tire chucks are removed, it takes very little effort for us to move a friend’s heart with Christ’s own love.
The two simple words of “The Bible”’s title may be the tire chucks that keep people from reading it. Nothing, however, can keep them from understanding it when we reach out to them with the Christ-like love we find in its pages.