As a fan of all things mechanical and most things race-car related, I was intrigued by a video entitled: “Citroen Rally Team rebuilds a wrecked rear-end in 32 minutes”. Sure enough, a Citroen World Rally Car pulled into the pits with one wheel dangling precariously and 32 minutes later, it drove off with all four wheels where they should be. For those of you who aren’t into cars, this was remarkable. Replacing not just a wheel, but all of the assorted axles, springs, shocks, mounts and related equipment is a task that takes a normal mechanic several hours. The French rally team guys performance was extraordinary.
What really amazed me about their accomplishment was not the silent teamwork, or their efficiency, or their great organizational skills. The most impressive part of their work was doing it all under the watchful eye of a Scrutineer, a person assigned by the rally organizers to make sure that all of the rules of the race were followed. In terms of the vehicle repair, the Scrutineer was there to see that the car was returned to its original state, nothing more or nothing less. Body panels had to be restored, no improvements could be made and nothing could be modified to alter the performance or function of the car.
Imagine the pressure the mechanics must have felt. Their car was effectively out of the race and had to get back on track as soon as possible. The damage was extensive and the parts were critical, high-precision items that had to be installed correctly the first time with no margin for error. And everything they did was being watched over by a Scrutineer who had the power to end their race should they break the rules, or even be perceived to be doing so. Talk about stress as the worked furiously under the hawk-like gaze of a cold, immovable judge. It’s remarkable how well they performed in those conditions.
We human beings, for as much as we would like to think we are free to do as we please, are also under the watchful eye of a great and powerful Scrutineer. God expects us to serve and to love as God serves and loves us. We are called to care for creation. We are called to live to our full potential and to build one another up. It’s a high-stakes game, with our heavenly Judge scrutinizing our every move in order to determine whether or not we receive eternal life when our time on earth comes to an end.
However, unlike the World Rally Scrutineer, God is gracious and merciful. If we blow it we aren’t thrown out of the race; we are forgiven so we can try again. And whether it’s one mistake or a million, if we seek God’s forgiveness, we receive it, freely. Still, there is an overall judgement. Our performance on earth determines whether or not we gain entry into heaven. But here’s the thing; God keeps no record of wrongs; we are scrutinized not for the number of times we do good things, but for the reason we act as we do. If we obey God out of fear or just to win, we will lose. But if we live to love God, others and ourselves as we are loved by God, there is no reason to fear our heavenly Scrutineer.