Pursuing Answers to Questions of Faith & Life

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Auto Recalls and the Good News

Every year, car manufacturers issue recalls.  Many of them are minor, like repairing a defective windshield wiper, while others are major, like the Volt’s battery system catching on fire.  Here are recent examples from Toyota and Chrysler.

These are issued after a problem or defect has been repeatedly observed and catalogued.  The manufacturer issues a general public notice and tries to contact registered owners of the vehicle make a model, offering to repair the defective element at no cost to the consumer.

Typically, this frees the manufacturer from future liability.  They have identified the problem or defect.  They have tried their best to notify everyone affected of the fix free of charge.
At this point, the burden falls to the consumer who has the vehicle in question.  If they received the recall notice identifying the problem and offering the fix, but then ignore it and do not take the car in for the fix, then the customer is responsible for damages incurred, in most cases.

The problem has been identified.  The fix has been offered for free.  The individual must decide to take it in for the repair.

Why wouldn’t someone do that?

Many reasons exist.  Maybe they procrastinate and will get to it later.  Maybe they need the car and to take it in will interrupt other important parts of life.  Maybe they don’t believe their car will experience that problem.   Maybe they don’t think the problem is a big enough deal for them to be concerned about.  Maybe they think their car really isn’t broken.  Maybe the person is a conspiracy theorist who believes recall notices are the way the manufacturer controls its customers or monitors or installs tracking devices.   

These are just a few reasons why someone would not take advantage of the recall.  But at this point, the reason doesn’t really matter, the effect is that the damage is still present and if there’s a problem now, they will have to pay for it themselves.

While the analogy is not perfect, this does parallel the message of the Gospel.  Gospel literally means, “Good News”. 

It’s like a recall announcement has been sent out by the manufacturer telling of a problem with the human condition (in this case, the flaw was not in the original design!).   In the Fall, described in Genesis 3, humanity was fundamentally damaged.  We now get sick and die, now we are willing to murder, we no longer really want to be close to our Creator.  As a result of being broken, nothing about us functions the way it’s supposed to. 

When you can’t remember what that person’s name was you just met—that’s the fall.
When you have to toil and labor just to make a living—that’s the fall.
When you get sick and are vomiting into the toilet—that’s the fall.
When tornadoes tear through your house—that’s the fall.

Everything about us and even the larger world is broken or damaged to some degree or another.  It could be our integrity, it could be our anger, it could be our sexuality, it could be our eating habits, it could be our tendency to use profanity.  This brokenness manifests itself in different ways for each of us but it is all symptomatic of the larger problem.

It’s a fundamental problem that only the Manufacturer can fix. 

We would consider the Manufacturer negligent if He did nothing about it.  In today’s world, people file class action lawsuits in order to get corporations to take responsibility.  But the Creator, the Manufacturer, the Designer doesn’t have to be forced to fix the problem.  He knows we cannot fix what is broken so He is willing to pay all the costs for repair Himself.  In fact, He began preparing for the recall before we even knew there was a problem.

The Manufacturer does everything He can to tell people about the fix that is available for the life-threatening problem.  He warns of the consequences if nothing is done about the problem.
He even enlists other people who have been “fixed” to help spread the news.  The message is simple: “Hey, I was broken.  I got the good news from the Manufacturer and got what was broken fixed.  He wants me to make sure you know that the fix is right here for you!  The manufacturer has paid for everything.  Just go in and receive the gift of the fix being offered to you.”

But just like with the recall notice, many people do not respond to the Good News of Jesus restoring the damage that was done at the fall.  And many of the reasons are the same.

We put it off till later.  We’re too busy or it would cause too much of an interruption to what we want in life.  Maybe we don’t believe we are broken.  Maybe we don’t want the Manufacture controlling or monitoring us—we want to be our own boss.

Whatever the reason, God has issued a “recall notice” to fix our problem.  It is the Gospel, the Good News of Jesus.

You can ignore or dismiss this “recall” at your own risk.  The Manufacturer cannot make you come in for “repairs”.

1 Corinthians 15:3-4—“For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures”

That is the basis of the Good News.  Our problem is identified: “our sins”.  The fix is accomplished: “Christ died… was buried… was raised on the third day” in victory over sin & death.  And that all this was by the design and purpose of the “Manufacturer” and revealed to those in need of the fix when we’re told it was all “according to the Scriptures”.

The first time you ever hear the Call of God will be to address this issue of the recall and the fix for sin provided in Jesus.  Before anything else can happen in your walk with God, this must be addressed.

He is waiting for your answer.

1 comment:

Richard said...

Excellent analogy Kelly. You are a wonderful teacher. Unfortunately, even when we recognize the defects, many of us fail to take 100% advantage of the "fix" but only want to fix what we think applies to us.