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Do you remember learning to ride a bicycle? Did your bike have training wheels? Did someone run along beside you to get you going?

One of the great challenges of youth, after learning to walk, is learning to ride a bicycle. It requires balance and a sense of self confidence. To assist in this process, manufacturers came up with a special set of wheels that are attached to the back wheel of a bicycle. The two little wheels attached to the back wheel are there to help provide balance and confidence to the rider. It provides balance whenever the rider leans too far to the left or to the right. It provides confidence because the little wheels don’t always touch the ground. The rider builds courage because he or she actually rides under their own power until they begin to lean. Knowing that the wheels are there in case of a fall builds confidence.

Some who have never had bikes equipped with training wheels had to learn the old-fashioned way. A parent or friend ran along beside the rider holding on until the rider got under way. Though wobbly at first, the rider got the hang of riding after a few crashes. Parents get tired but training wheels don’t. Training wheels were always attached. Riders who used training wheels never had to wait for someone to catch their breath. Training wheels were convenient.

Training wheels serve a purpose, but there comes a time when training wheels are no longer necessary. Let’s look at the little boy who was being trained to ride his bike by his father. On the first day out his father said to him. "Son, there are three things you should always remember if you are going to learn to ride a bike." The excited son committed all three to memory: "Keep your eye on the road, don’t lean to the left or the right, and remember Daddy’s right there." As the boy mounted the bike his father had him to repeat the three rules and then ran along beside him shouting encouragement and reminding the boy to keep repeating the three rules. After each ride the boy was excited and thrilled. After the third ride, his father ran alongside him but didn’t say anything as the boy kept reciting the three rules. One day the boy mounted the bike as usual and took off chanting to himself "Keep your eye on the road, don’t lean to the left or the right and remember Daddy’s right there!" Two blocks up the road he looked back and was surprised to find out that his daddy had not made the run with him but was waving from the front yard. When the boy returned the father said "Son let this be a lesson to you in life. You will succeed if you can keep your eye on the road, never stray to left or right and remember, even when you can’t see him, not me, your heavenly father’s right there!"

(From a sermon by Robert Drake, "Training Wheels" 7/6/2009)

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