I was so excited when my dad gave me a go-kart. As a 10-year-old boy, I felt like I was getting my own Mercedes Benz! It was a fixer upper for sure, but I was more than happy to wire it up and prep it for action.
The cart was flat to the ground, all metal, and with those four tires spread out from the frame, I was ready to ride all over the yard and anywhere else the winds of opportunity led me.
I had to stand behind the engine and yank the pull cord in order to crank the go-kart, which created a problem to solve. How was I going to crank it and it not zoom off without me? I looked around the yard and found a brick. Problem solved: I would place the brick on the brake pedal and then once that motor came alive I could jump in the driver’s seat and be Dale Earnhardt.
With the brick firmly in place, I put one hand on a small metal bar above the engine and began to jerk the pull cord. The engine turned a little but it would take at least one more pull. I didn’t know, however, that absolute disaster was just seconds away.
You see, somehow I had wired the brakes to the gas pedal and the gas line to the brake pedal. So whenever that engine did fire up, I was going to be in trouble.
And trouble came two pulls later. That motor revved to life and before I could blink or breathe, the go-kart took off like a tiger was chasing it. With that brick shoving the miswired pedal to the floor, the go-kart felt like it went from zero to a hundred in less than a second.
I still had hold of the bar when the go-kart screamed down the driveway. Gravel shot into my eyes, nose and mouth. Thankfully the steering wheel began to turn and the go-kart didn’t go into the road with me hanging on behind it. But I did get knocked around like a rag-doll with those endless figure-eights the go-kart was doing.
As I held a death grip onto the back of the go-kart, I was hit with more than dirt and rocks. A thought hit me too: my dad was there! I strained to look at the pen he was riding horses in and, yes, there he was looking at me. In fact, I imagine everyone driving right there up and down Highway 195 between Jasper and Double Springs was getting quite a show.
I looked to my dad for help and he was saying something. Over the roar of the engine and my raging heartbeat I couldn’t hear him. I wondered if I was in the last moments of my life.
And then I finally heard my dad loud and clear as he raced toward me. “Hit the kill switch. HIT THE KILL SWITCH!”
Yes! The kill switch! On the back of the engine was a little switch that, if tripped, would kill the engine graveyard dead. In what felt like a scene from a high-budget box office action film, I fought to get my hand above the motor to find the kill switch. Sweat and fear drained out of my body as my fingers searched the top of the hot engine. And then, in dramatic fashion, the motor cut off and stopped as if it had hit a wall. I had done it. With burns to show for it on my arm, I had finally flipped the switch.
I laid on the ground a few moments and kissed the earth. My dad checked on me and then figured out I had wired the brake and gas pedals wrong. He thought it was pretty funny. I was simply glad to be alive.
But just like I got my wires crossed with that go-kart, we can get our wires crossed in life. In many areas of our lives we can go when we should stop and stop when we should go. Frankly, it’s not that hard to do. As a Christian I am bombarded daily, even hourly, with an overload of information from all kinds of sources. When I don’t have a means to filter that information, I can get my wires crossed. That is, I can turn to those sources other than God and His Word for the decisions and directions of my life which can lead to some undesired places. But being a follower of Jesus I WANT to be led by God and by His Bible and by His Holy Spirit. I WANT Jesus in me to be the King of me!
When I miss days of being in His Word and in prayer, I can tell my wires start to get crossed. The draw of my sinful nature, the call of the world system, and the work of the enemy partner to pull my heart away from God’s wisdom. But when I get back prayerfully into the Bible and fellowship with my faith family and participate in corporate worship, it’s like hitting the kill switch on the world’s influence in my life. As I spend time with my Lord I am more like Him and then I can honor Him more with all that I do. So let’s get wired up right as we progress into 2021 and live lives full of grace in our hearts instead of gravel in our mouths. Are you ready to flip that switch?
Scott McCullar is the the Pastor of First Baptist Church-Carbon Hill. He can be reached at (205)924-4145 and firstname.lastname@example.org as well as the FBC Carbon Hill Facebook Page.