Our family of five purchased a vehicle a couple of years ago that seats six, a Mazda Five. We took our own children, along with another kid in church, to school each morning, and the vehicle was perfect for that task; it also has the additional benefit of getting superb gas mileage.
One thing we quickly came to realize, though, was that its designers are apparently contrarians of the highest order. Everything that every other vehicle we have ever owned did or does, this one does backwards. The gas tank is on the opposite side. The windshield wipers are activated down instead of up. All the normal controls are in opposite spots.
But we quickly learned to adapt since it is a very good and reliable vehicle, one that I would not hesitate to buy again.
A year ago, though, the door-lock clicker on my keychain stopped working. I knew it was probably just a battery, so I opened it up, took out the old one and went in search of a new one. I installed a new battery and, to my chagrin, it still did not work. That clearly meant that the transmitter itself had gone bad.
So we went to the Mazda dealership to procure a new one, but when we found out the price of that tiny little item, we decided that anything that costs as much (roughly) as a kidney transplant would not be the perfect will of God for our budget.
And so, for the last year, we have unlocked the doors manually. This has also been a bit of a pain since whoever designed this vehicle decided that it, unlike 99.99 percent of every other vehicle on the planet, should not have a key hole on the passenger side door. That meant that I, as a gentleman, would have to unlock the driver's door with the key, click the inner unlock button, walk around the car, open my wife's door, close it, then go back around to my side.
I have lost at least 10 pounds, I think, in that year long pursuit of chivalry.
Last week, I preached a revival at a great church in Monroe, N.C. One of the men there noticed my key dilemma. Assuming it was a battery, he kindly offered to change it. When I explained the issue, he brought in a diagnostic tool, which showed no signal emanating from the key fob. He suggested that I try another battery, just in case that one, too, was somehow bad.
The next night I stopped at a parts store for a battery. I opened the key fob, took out the battery ... and dropped my head and sighed. Like everything else on this vehicle, the battery that I had placed into the fob in the exact same manner as every other one I have ever owned, was designed to go in upside down. I sheepishly turned it over, pointed it at the car and heard "blip blip!" The car was telling me that everything was now working normally.
For a year, an entire year, I could have had a working door opener, but I assumed how the battery should go, rather than looking for the plus mark that indicated "positive side down."
Ezekiel 21:26 says: "Thus saith the Lord God; remove the diadem, and take off the crown: this shall not be the same: exalt him that is low, and abase him that is high." Power in the Christian life comes only from one source, God, and it comes through only one means, humility.
James 4:6 tells us that "God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble." The power of God on a life will never come as a result of physical size and strength, financial means, great education, lofty family heritage or political connections. These means, these things that the world prizes are of little to no significance with God. The power of God on a life is given by God as a gift to those who walk in humility by loving him, obeying his word and serving others.
No one should have such power at their disposal and have that power unused by having things in their lives turned "upside down."
Bo Wagner is pastor of the Cornerstone Baptist Church of Mooresboro, N.C., and the author of several books which are available at wordofhismouth.com. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.