Lessons From A Flat Tire

Title: Lessons From A Flat Tire
Subject: Unfriendly Church
Lessons from a Flat Tire!
With Dr. Vince Hefner, Pastor
First Baptist Church
Cherryville, North Carolina

Have you ever gone to church expecting one experience, and wind up experiencing something completely different? Since I am a pastor, I stay at my church 98% of the time. There are times when I am invited to speak at another church. When these occasions arise, the pastor is my host and the church members are polite and courteous while I am in their presence. It is a great experience to be a welcomed guest in church. However, there are also times I take off for vacation time and worship at another church. If you go to a church where you are not known, or expected, the treatment just might be different than when they are expecting you, or different than what you would receive in your own church.

A few weeks ago I was on vacation and decided to visit a different church. I must admit, I was excited about going to church with nobody expecting me to do anything, just sit and worship. My family and I were all dressed up and arrived in the church parking lot on time to get a good seat inside. All I had to do is select a parking spot. I picked one out, pulled up and heard a loud pop and a hissing noise. Folks, I knew that this couldn't be good! When I inspected the front of my truck I noticed my right front tire was flat. The parking lot had some exposed rebar and had punctured my tire. Here is where things get interesting.

I believe a person can learn from any situation in life if enough time is given to analyze the particular event. Sometimes a person can learn more than one lesson from a comedy or tragedy they have faced. I was going to learn a couple of lessons from my flat tire in a church parking lot.

Lesson One: Watch where you park!

Lesson Two: Know how to change a flat tire while wearing a suit.

Lesson Three: Don't get upset, people will walk by while you are changing a flat tire in a church parking lot, and not even offer to help you change it.

Lesson Four: Don't judge a Church by one bad experience, there is always a "Good Samaritan" amongst the religious folk who don't want to get involved in helping others.

Lesson Five: Always be on the lookout to help other people, or at least offer assistance to let them know you care about their situation. I did have friends at that particular church who, once they heard I was out in the parking lot came to my assistance, and another friend from that same church repaired my flat tire.

When I arrived back at my Church, I told them what happened to me. I'm sure some smiled to themselves picturing me changing a flat tire in a parking lot during Church. I want to make sure that when people attend my Church they are treated with respect and care. I also realize that no church is perfect, and people, even at their best, can overlook the needs of others.

When is the last time that you put what you believe into practice? It is important to look for opportunities to help others, and sometimes these opportunities can come in some unexpected places, like a church parking lot! James 2:14-16 says, "Dear Brothers and sisters, what's the use of saying you have faith if you don't prove it by your actions? That kind of faith can't save anyone. Suppose you see a brother or sister who needs food or clothing, and you say, ''Well, good-bye and God bless you; stay warm and eat well''-but then you don''t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?" Let us take advantage of every opportunity of service in the name of Jesus Christ. Remember, don't give in to sin. Think about it!