The internal combustion engine found in cars, lawnmowers and many other devices is a marvellous device. Ranging from tiny, single-cylinder units that can fit in the palm of your hand to mighty multi cylinder units bigger than the average garage, they have helped revolutionize the way we live.
As incredible as they are, they all share a rather embarrassing secret. Internal combustion engines cannot start themselves. For all the incredible and complex technology that allows them to run for as long as they have fuel, without a little external help, they are nothing more than a fascinatingly intricate assemblage of metal parts.
That help used to come from we human beings. Using a hand-crank (a very dangerous proposition), a pull cord, or a kick starter, we would get them spinning just enough so that they could then take over and run themselves. As if a hand crank wasn’t dangerous enough, old airplane engines were started by cranking the propeller itself. In modern days the starting motion is provided by an electric motor, which is not only much safer, but simpler, too.
Sometimes I wish I had a little external help getting started myself. It would have been wonderful if the pull of a crank or the push of a button to drive an electric motor could have gotten me going with the first few words of this little opus today. Believe me, getting my “Thoughts” going required more than just a little effort.
Of course, starting an engine or a human endeavour requires more than just physical input; virtually anything we do calls for a conscious effort, an actual decision to put pen to paper or start the car to drive to that uncomfortable interview. Sometimes putting that decision into motion can be the hardest thing to do, especially if the task is a challenging one.
There’s no doubt that I enjoy sharing my “Thoughts” with you, and I usually have a good number in stock ready to go from week to week. The stress and worry of getting them just right and saying something that is both interesting and useful is enough to make starting them a daunting proposition. A bit of a kick-start would be appreciated every once in a while.
What finally gets me started is the confidence I get doing what I believe God has equipped and intended me to do. As I said, I always have a few ideas on hand so inspiration is never a problem. The problem arises when I go at my “Thoughts” without trusting that God will see me through to the end. Once I get started, the process is a relatively short one. The part that takes the longest is giving up my doubts and trusting God.
What about you? Do find it hard to get going sometimes? Do you have all the will in the world yet still struggle to start that challenging project? Turn it over to God; if it’s something that honours the Creator that has blessed you with whatever gifts you need to accomplish your goal, trust that God will give you just the push you need.
Published previously, March 28, as part of my weekly “Thoughts” for my congregation, St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Coldwater.