Summary: Learning how to become strong for the off-road times of life from 1 Timothy
September 7 & 8, 2002
“Reading the Owner’s Manual”
The Ford Motor Company was incorporated and began production of the model A in 1903. As one would expect, they were pretty simple vehicles. There were really very few moving parts, they were open air cars and their top speed was in the single digits. There were so few instructions relating to their and subsequent models operation that an owners manual for Ford cars was not produced until 1934. In 1934 you had the choice of two models, the model Y and model C and there were three body colors that you could choose from, black, black and…black. Since 1934 there has been an owner’s manual produced for every Ford model car and truck. All other major car manufacturers copied this option by the end of 1937.
I am going to give you some statistics that are so large that it is almost impossible to get your hands around them. I sat in my office the other day and was just sort of awe struck by how big these numbers really are.
In 2000, there were 8,139,000 cars and trucks manufactured in the United States. That means, at minimum, that there were 8,139,000 owner’s manuals produced. I spoke to a young man recently in Dearborn Michigan that works in the Ford motor research department and he indicated that the price that Ford places upon creation, design, printing and distribution of each owner’s manual is $11.50. If that figure is pretty consistent across the industry, automobile manufacturers spent approximately $93,598,500 on a publication that rarely sees the light of day.
On the same day that I talked to Ramji in Dearborn Michigan, I also talked to Tom in New York City at the headquarters of the American Bible Society. After a couple hours of research on his part, he called and gave me the figure for the number of bibles published for world wide distribution in the United States in the year 2000. The figure that he felt most comfortable with was 150 million bibles. That is a one followed by a five followed by zero, zero, zero, zero, zero, zero, zero. That includes the figure supplied by the Gideon’s. They distributed 56,000,000 bibles in 108 countries that year. That is 107 copies per minute. See what I mean when I say that getting your hands around figures like that is awe inspiring? If the average price of those scriptures was $8.00, the total value of those scriptures would be 1.2 Billion dollars. That is B for Billion.
I was just wondering, How many of those bibles didn’t and still don’t see the light of day? Automobile Owner’s manuals and Bibles have a lot in common. There are a bunch of them published each year, everyone who needs one, can get one of them at a reasonable price. They are just chocked full of extremely useful information and many or rather, most of them never get read. Yet they both are the items we need to understand how things work, why they work the way they do and how all things can work better. Many people treat scripture like a deck of holy tarot cards. Need some inspiration or instruction? Flip open the bible, point a finger and do whatever it says. I once heard of a young Christian who decided one day that he wanted guidance on a matter so he opened his Bible and his finger fell upon Mt. 27:5
“And Judas went out and hanged himself”
Feeling that it wasn’t quite what he had in mind, he decided to open his Bible again and see if that Bible verse would help. As he opened the Bible his finger found Luke 10:37
“And Jesus said, “Go and do likewise”
Still not satisfied, he thought he’d give it another shot and he open the Bible up and his jabbed a finger onto John 13:27
“ What you are about to do, do quickly”
He joined 3,000 people who quit smoking that day and he was buried three days later. Not exactly the best way to get advice but it will work. To what end, I will not guarantee.
Last week we saw how Paul flashed a warning to his beloved Timothy. He shared with him what the last days would be like. Paul now turns his attention to helping us to understand how we can counteract the influences of the Godlessness of those last days. Lets read it together once again.2 Timothy 3:10-17;
10 You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, persecutions, sufferings-what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. 11 Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. 12 In fact, everyone who wants to live a Godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. 13 while evil men and imposters will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you have learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.