I married into an Auburn family. I’ve learned through the years that if you meet another Auburn person, you don’t just say “hey”. If you do it right, you say “War Eagle.” It’s a pretty cool way to make a connection with people wherever you go.
One of our cars has Auburn stuff on it. We were out driving recently on a dirt road in the woods, looking for a hiking trail. Miles away from the main highway, we hadn’t seen another soul for half an hour. A beat up truck came driving in the other direction. It slowed down and stopped beside us. The guy rolled down his window. In the back of my mind I started hearing banjo music.
Then, at the last possible second, the guy smiled and said “Hey man. War Eagle!”
There’s this whole phenomenon called the Jeep Wave. I had no idea about this until my wife got a Jeep. Depending on what’s going on with after school activities and shuttling kids around, I end up driving the Jeep almost as much as she does. If you’ve never driven a Jeep before, a curious thing happens when you pass another Jeep. The drivers of the two vehicles engage in a knowing wave at each other, a subtle lift of the finger off the steering wheel that says, “Hey fellow Jeep owner, you and I both know we are driving the coolest vehicles on the road right now.”
A lot of times when I’m driving the Jeep I forget about the wave. A few days ago though, I was determined to get it right. The first Jeep I passed, I went all out. I didn’t just wave. I waved and then gave a smile and a big ol’ thumbs up.
The dude in the Jeep didn’t wave back. He didn’t even lift his finger off the steering wheel. Instead he kind of scowled at me like I was handing out flowers at the airport.
It was then that I realized – I wasn’t in the Jeep. I was in the car with the Auburn stuff.
I get confused when I’m driving because my Jeep and Auburn fandom are secondhand. Even though I like Auburn and like driving my wife’s Jeep, I haven’t fully bought into either. I like them but don’t love them.
Sadly, that’s how faith is for many of us. We go to church with our family because they like it, but we haven’t bought into it. We wear a necklace with a cross on it, but don’t appreciate the love and suffering and sacrifice that the cross represents.
In matters of faith, there is no secondhand. When it’s all said and done, we’re going to stand before Jesus himself, and he is going to say one of two things: “Well, done, good and faithful servant.” Or, “Depart from me, I never knew you.”
He’s not going to say, “Well, I didn’t know you, but I knew your Dad. Come on in.” It doesn’t work that way.
I think the answer to this whole thing lies in those two statements the Bible says Jesus will make. If you are truly a follower of Jesus, you will be a faithful servant. The only way to be a faithful servant is to make him Lord of your life.
If you are truly a follower of Jesus, you will know him and he will know you. This means you will be in an intimate relationship with him. Jesus calls it “abiding in him” which literally means you will make your home in him and he will make his home in you.
As we enter the heart of this season of Lent and reflect on the mysterious sacrifice that Jesus made for us all, make sure you’re living it for yourself. That you really believe it to the point that Jesus is Lord and you abide with him.
Don’t settle for a secondhand faith.