Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A Lesson Learned at Jiffy Lube

I went to Jiffy Lube the other day to have my oil changed. The attendant who came out to help me was an extremely friendly guy. As we went through the process of getting checked in, he explained every minuscule detail of the process, which quickly started to irritate me. Did I really look like I had the word dumb written on my face? I had been coming to Jiffy Lube for quite some time; I knew how things worked, and this kid’s attitude was starting to annoy the heck out of me.

Now, I’m the last person in the world who has a right to get angry about such things. You see, I know practically nothing about cars. I can fill my Camry with gas, make sure the tires have the right amount of air pressure, and on a good day I might even be able to change a flat. (Although the last time I tried, I broke one of the lug nuts, which ended up taking a bit of money to fix.) In spite of my vehicular ignorance, however, I still felt irritated by the way the attendant was treating me.

My reaction got me to thinking: why was I so upset? Well, the root answer was that I was reacting in pride. (I already knew I was a prideful person, but God sometimes sees fit to make me more acutely aware of just how conceited I really am.) It would have been illogical for the attendant to assume that I knew everything there was to know about both my car and the services Jiffy Lube provided. In an effort to best serve me, he was explaining everything in detail so that I would understand exactly what was taking place. I was offended because proud people oftentimes mistake servant-heartedness for condescension. The humble servitude of the Jiffy Lube guy irritated my pride.

It is this same pride that causes another vehicle-related sin: road rage. I can get so mad when I’m driving because I think others on the road should let me have my way. I literally see myself as the king of the highway and everyone else as my subjects. When they don’t do as I please, I become agitated. I may not be able to declare, “Off with his head!” but I can at least tailgate the sucker who gets in my way and/or speed by him the first chance I get—just to let my subordinate know his king is most displeased with his performance.

Ultimately, this pride is directed toward God Himself. It is His sovereign hand that I am raging against when traffic doesn’t go my way. “All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; He does according to His will in the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth. No one can restrain His hand or say to Him, ‘What have You done?’” (Daniel 4:35).

By God’s grace, I am becoming more apt to accept traffic conditions as the result of God’s loving and sovereign hand. Slowly but surely, I am getting less angry while on the road. Even so, if I happen to cut any of you off in the future or speed by you in protest of your poor driving skills, please bear with me; I’m a work in progress.

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