Keep Them Tractor Wheels Straight

By Patrick Hawthorne


Life is full of little nuggets of inspiration.  One only needs to pay attention.  For instance, my last post, The Churlish Chicken , was inspired by observing a heathen chicken who desperately needs Jesus.  Seriously, this chicken is off the rails crazy.

Today’s post is inspired by blogger friend, Pastor Jim who wrote, “One Witty Ditty for Your Memory of Theology: Interpreting and Applying Gods Word.”  “I know, I know… I  need to have a serious discussion with him concerning the length of his titles.  Let him be though.  He comes from that strange and foreign land known as California. Anywho…, Pastor Jim wrote a little rhyme to keep in mind when studying the Word of God.  He wrote,

Lord guide me to interpret what Your Word is about,
And also to have the moral courage to live it out.

Immediately, upon reading his post, my mind went to a strange far away place that few should dare navigate lest they not be able to find their way home.  I thought to myself, “Ya gotta keep them tractor wheels straight or your rows are gonna be crooked.” For you people from the North, I will translate.  “It is imperative that you keep the wheels of the tractor pointed straight.  Otherwise the rows that are being plowed will be crooked.”

The Word of God – the bible – is our moral and spiritual compass.  It does us no good to own a compass but not follow the directional path that it will lead us.  As such, it does no good for us to own a bible or even read the bible unless we are willing to be guided by the principles contained therein.

“Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” (Psalm 119:105).  By following the Word of God, we have the lamp to our feet needed to make sure that we do not trip and fall and the light needed to illuminate our path so that we stay the course.  In essence, the Word will help us keep those tractor wheels straight and pointed in the right direction so that our rows stay straight.  Be blessed.

For Pastor Jims post please see:

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Posted in Christian, teaching
9 comments on “Keep Them Tractor Wheels Straight
  1. Mel Wild says:

    Good word, Patrick. Most of the big farmers up here use GPS guided tractors because their fields are so huge. Just plug in the coordinates and let the tractor do the plowing. I think there’s a lesson there, too, if we think of Holy Spirit as our GPS. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Um…not sure how I feel about this little ditty. To me, it seems to reduce the Word of God to nothing more than rules for living. Good rules, to be sure, for God’s laws are gifts to us, for our benefit and our neighbours’ as well.

    But the Word of God is, well… Jesus. He is the Word of redemption and salvation – the very same redemption and salvation contained within the Scriptures – *made flesh”. The entirety of the OT points forward to Messiah, and the NT points back to Him.

    Look, I’m not saying this little ditty is “wrong” per se, but it does drastically miss the mark of what the Bible is actually about. From beginning to end, the Christian Scriptures always point to the Christ and his redemptive work upon the Cross.

    Please don’t read this as a screed against the Law – I think you know me well enough now to know that I love the Law as I love the Lord. God’s laws and precepts for us are more than commands to be obeyed, they are *gifts* to us as well. They teach us to value what God values. In keeping them – or, at least in the trying of keeping them – we learn to take our eyes off ourselves and turn them towards God and others.

    I don’t love the Law because I think I stack up well against it. HA! No, I cherish the law because I know I stack up poorly against it. The weight of it CRUSHES me, reminds me always that no matter how I try to keep it, WANT to keep it, there is always more to do.

    I love the Law because it ever and always points me to Christ. It shows my need for repentance, forgiveness, and a redemption that is not of my own making.

    This, ultimately, is what all of Scripture is about.

    The Christian life has less to do with having the moral courage to live it out, but rather more to do with having the courage to admit that we are NOT living it out, and *repent*.

    If you are reading the Bible through the lens of “what must I do?” then that is what you are going to focus on – the part you can do.

    The Bible does not have one message for the unconverted (believe) and another for the converted (now live right). It is the same message for all: Believe SO THAT you may live, and righteous you SHALL be.

    That is not a command – that is a promise, a gift given in grace.

    When you’re reading the Bible looking for what you ought to do, that is what you will find…but you will also miss *so much more*.

    The Scripture you used (Thy Word is a lamp) is a good example to illustrate. The way you used it kinda subtly turns it into a command, something to do: “By following the Word of God, we have…”

    Now read the Scripture again, but instead of hearing it as a command, hear it instead as a straight declaration (aka a promise from God). Better yet, replace ‘Thy Word’ with ‘Jesus’:

    Jesus is a lamp unto my feet and a light into my path.

    Do you see the difference?

    There’s nothing “to do” about that statement, it is pure declaration and promise.

    Of course, I am not saying that we shouldn’t look to the Scriptures for how we ought to live – of course we do! The Scriptures are full of profound wisdom for living that we ought not ignore. But if it’s all we’re looking for (or even primarily all), then we are missing the promises that God intends them to be. We’re missing *Christ* in them.

    Here’s a challenge for anyone who who’s interested: Next time you’re in your study Bible, take a look through it and make note of all the things that you previously highlighted or underlined in it. How many of them are about “me, and what I must do” vs. “Jesus, and what He has done for me”?

    There’s no right or wrong proportion of course, but I do think it illustrates what our focus tends to be on when we go to the Scriptures, and whether we need to reorient it or not.

    Don’t know how this will land with you, it’s not meant to be critical, but a slightly broader – but important! – perspective on what you have shared.

    Be blessed, as you say.


  3. Yep…I understand where you are coming from and no offense at all taken.

    This is where I’m coming from. Pastor Jim’s ditty was, “…and to have the moral courage to carry it out.” I did not take it as something to do per say, but the courage to live it out.

    For example, Titus 2:11-12 says that the grace of God that brings salvation (Jesus) has appeared to men, teaching us that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and Godly in the present age.

    From my understanding, to have moral courage would be to pray, “Lord, my desire is to live soberly, righteous and godly before you. Please help me to live out this holiness and to be bold when obstacles arise.”

    The difference between you and me, as it appears from your comment, is that your focus is on your failures while mine is a focus on the success that I have through Christ Jesus. The cross was never intended to keep us under a heavy burden. Otherwise, Jesus would never have told us He will not overburden us. If Jesus says I can walk in victory, I take Him at His word and pray in that direction. Not because it is something I have to do but something I really, really WANT to do.

    I hope that makes sense… Be blessed.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. SLIMJIM says:

    Brother I am laughing out loud reading this after a long day. The humor I needed but also the good analogy and point about letting God’s Word illuminate our paths


  5. SLIMJIM says:

    Scheduling this on Twitter


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