Rev. Keith Turman
I got a new bike the other day. I needed a good racing bike. Several years ago for a triathlon, Ross borrowed a really cool bike from a friend, but I decided to ride my old bike. My goal for that leg of the race was more about not having a flat tire than about trying to beat anyone. Besides, a good racing bike costs thousands of dollars. In the staging area before the event, racers kept walking by with their fancy rides. Some actually laughed out loud when they saw my bike. I thought that was a bit rude. One guy came over to get a closer look and said, “Dude, that bike is ancient.” It was okay. I knew Ross loved me.
So my new bike is amazing. It’s made from carbon, is as light as a feather, and has all kinds of cool stuff on it. A bicycle pump is attached to the frame, there’s a place for me to put my water bottle, and there’s a zipper pouch under the seat for storing tools, extra tubes, and gummy bears. It is equipped with handlebars just like the ones I saw on those fancy bikes, where you can rest your elbows while cruising down steep hills. It has lights that flash so cars will see me coming and get out of my way, a speedometer/odometer, and miniature espresso machine.
I didn’t go shopping for this new bike. On a summer Saturday evening, minding my own business on the back porch while listening to my pet chipmunk, Chip, John and Nancy Mohme appeared in the driveway. They hopped out of the truck with their brand new puppy, and we had a really nice visit. Then John went back to his truck and emerged with the bike I just described. I was just kidding about the coffee machine, but everything else is accurate. He also had a milk crate full of extra supplies, a helmet, and some funky magnetic shoes that attached to the equally funky looking pedals. John had put over 40,000 miles on that bike, but it was time to retire, and all of this was a gift for me. I’m pretty sure a tear was forming in the corner of John’s eye as he parted ways with an old friend, but mine were tears of joy because with a bike like this, I knew the Tour de France was no longer out of reach. And I knew that John and Nancy Mohme loved me.
On that Monday morning I decided to ride my new bike to work. The fancy magnetic shoes fit perfectly, so off I went. I wanted to make sure I was ready before hitting the open road, so I stopped the bike in the driveway. My feet were stuck to the pedals. The crash didn’t hurt too badly and there were no holes in my khakis, so I tried again. The traffic light at Country Club Drive and Main Street was red and my feet were stuck to the pedals again, this time at a busy intersection. So I’m on the ground in the middle of the road, flailing around like a fish out of water, trying to get my feet off the pedals before the light turns green and I get run over by the Ford pickup truck with gigantic tires laughing hysterically behind me. Fortunately the only thing injured was my pride. As I walked the bike home with my tail between my legs, I remembered John’s parting words to me: “Now if you’d like, I can show you how to use all of this stuff. The shoes can be kind of tricky.” I replied with something like, “Thanks so much John, but no, I’ve got this. I’ve been riding bikes since Kindergarten. And I do triathlons.”
Early on in the creation of things, God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone.” So I’m not sure why I keep thinking I can make it on my own, because time and time again life proves me wrong. I clearly need help. The truth is, we all need help. God created us that way. We can’t survive without air, food, water, or shelter. But we also need things like acceptance and affection and love. God created us to need one another, and the Bible gives us some guidance on how to go about it.
Love one another. John 13:34
Care for one another. 1 Corinthians 12:25
Bear one another’s burdens. Galatians 6:2
Encourage one another and build up each other. 1 Thessalonians 5:11
Forgive one another. Colossians 3:13
Teach and admonish one another. Colossians 3:16
Serve one another in love. Galatians 5:13
Provoke one another to love and good deeds. Hebrews 10:24
Confess your sins and pray for one another. James 5:16
John, if you’re reading this, I confess my sin of self-reliance. I know that we’re better together. So if you’ll come back over, I’ll plug in the espresso machine.