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Part 2: Are you Connected?


Fifth wheel
The fifth wheel

I can still remember the feeling of exhilaration as I pulled my loaded rig out of the yard and onto the city street. The moment was remarkable in that it was at this precise instant that my trailer decided to stay behind. As I pulled out, the trailer slid away from the fifth wheel and crashed onto the frame rails of the tractor with an awful sound and a bone jarring feeling. Thankfully I was able to stop just before it came completely off the truck or pulled off any brake lines.


I thought I was hooked up properly but I wasn’t. It could have been quite an expensive error but thankfully, everything turned out ok. I was able to dolly down the trailer, drop the air on the tractor suspension and slide back under the trailer, lesson learned.


Ok, let’s learn some parts.


The fifth wheel is a large steel plate attached to the tractor with a large slot in it. Near the front of the trailer, underneath, is the kingpin – just a piece of round steel about 4” in length and approximately 2” wide extending from the underneath of the trailer.


Kingpin
The Kingpin

When hooking up, you back the tractor under the trailer so that the kingpin goes into the slot. When you are all the way in, a bar locks into place behind the pin and firmly connects the tractor to the trailer. You can hear the locking of the mechanism when it locks onto the kingpin.


It certainly doesn’t look like much, but the connection is incredibly strong.


There have been accidents where the tractor has gone off a bridge and the trailer didn’t. Almost miraculously the fifth wheel connection held the entire weight of the tractor suspended in mid-air. This is not something you particularly want to experience for yourself, but it has happened.


The connection between a tractor and trailer is deceivingly small and is basically invisible to most people, yet it is incredibly strong.


THE SPIRITUAL CONNECTION


There is a huge spiritual correlation here that we must not ignore.

Do you have the invisible connection with Jesus that holds your life together in good times and in bad? Are you sure? Perhaps it’s worth a look.


Many times I have asked the men I counsel if they have prayed to ask Jesus into their life. They often think a minute and reply that they have prayed that prayer – usually many years ago.


And that was it.


They may still attend church services and even serve in the church in some capacity, but it’s clear that a relationship with Jesus isn’t the guiding force in their life. Was the prayer alone the assurance we need to be convinced we are properly connected? Jesus was very clear that we could not only pray a prayer but we can be active in the church (in all its many dimensions) and still not truly be known by Him.


There is a disturbing illustration by Jesus where he talks about some people who apparently think and act like they are connected, but in reality, they aren’t.


The illustration is found in Matthew 7:21-23, “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in Your name and cast out demons in Your name and performed many miracles in Your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.”


The actual invitation of Jesus wasn’t and still isn’t to simply pray a prayer to invite Him into our life. His invitation has always been, “Follow Me.” A true connection with Jesus is one that transforms our life.


Not only have we invited Him into our life but we actually begin to change and become more like Jesus. We allow Him into every part of our life until He becomes the deep center – that place from which all decisions and behaviors flow.


We find ourselves leaving the old ways of living and growing into new ways of living. We grow in understanding and obedience to Jesus’s teachings. We communicate with Him regularly and we hang out with others who are also followers.


That’s how we grow. That’s how we change.


The truth is my truck became disconnected because I didn’t examine the connection closely enough when I did my pre-trip inspection. Had I slowed down and looked more closely, I would have seen an improper connection and could have resolved it.


Likewise, Paul gives us similar directions to make certain that we are true followers of Jesus. He tells us to, “Examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine. Test yourselves. Surely you know that Jesus Christ is among you; if not, you have failed the test of genuine faith.” (2 Corinthians 13:5)


When our connection to Jesus is secure, though it may be invisible to others, it can be the strength we need in this life every day that holds us securely even when our life appears to be falling apart.


Take time to double check your connection with Jesus. Is He central to your life and all your decisions or is He a kind of peripheral “add on” to an already too busy life? There’s a lot at stake in your answer. It’s a life or death connection with eternal consequences, so don’t take chances.


The invitation from Jesus stands to this day – “Follow Me.” Responding “yes” gets you connected – living into your “yes” will take the rest of your life.

Trust me (and millions of others) when I tell you, the journey will be worth it!



 

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