Start Your Engines: What’s Driving You? (Kwasi Kena)

I have been in Indiana for less than five months. Yet, in that short period of time, I have become quite cognizant of the pervasiveness of the racing industry on the culture here. People seem to drive as if they are auditioning for the Indy 500 when I travel through Indianapolis. The excitement reaches fever-pitch as the time for the big race approaches. People flock to the speedway to see the celebration of automobiles, emerging technology, racing legends and even pay to watch practice rounds before the race. There’s a fascination about speed that results from harnessing the power of a well-tuned automobile engine.

Today I listened to a sermon preached by Steve Deneff, lead pastor of College Wesleyan Church, who used a metaphor about engines to explore the question, “What’s driving you?” As many of you may, when I hear something provocative, my mind begins to explore possibilities. (For those of you who prepare sermons, remember that people only listen to about seven minutes of a twenty-minute sermon—and the minutes are not consecutive.)

Right now I am in scurry mode, which is the expected norm for a new faculty member. There’s always a new book to read, lesson to prepare, or meeting to attend. In the busyness of carrying out these necessary duties, it is easy (at least for me) to become all consumed with conquering the to-do list while losing sight of tending to my spiritual self.

I remember reading an account of a pastor who attended a workshop led by a nationally known speaker. Eager to accumulate every ounce of wisdom that the speaker offered, the pastor arrived with pen and legal pad in hand and found a seat on the front row. He, like many of his colleagues, had pushed himself to his physical limits tying up loose ends at home so he could attend the workshop without the nagging guilt of having left something important undone. When the speaker arrived, he surveyed the crowd, discerned the collective fatigue in the room and promptly dismissed them to their rooms to get some rest. He knew that at that moment, the most spiritual thing the attendees could do was go to bed.

What’s driving you? The question continues to echo through my mind as I weigh the constant press of rushing to do things with the need to lie down in green pastures and restore my soul. I am constantly learning when to stop driving the little engine inside me long enough to allow God’s presence to renew me.

Thankfully, God sends messages to remind me to stop driving for a while. This week the messages came through my loving spouse and a timely sermon.

Speeding up productivity and harnessing personal power are not the ultimate goals in life. Learning to let God steer us in the right directions daily is a much healthier pursuit.

Tonight, I’ll go to bed with two things on my mind. The question “What’s driving you?” And my two possible responses, “me or God.”

  • DavidDrury

    Great thoughts, Kwasi. After learning to drive in Indianapolis I’m used to the high speeds around the interstates… but it’s always seemed safer than the really big city driving out there–where the traffic is crazy!And thanks for the correction on “personal productivity”… yes, this is an obsession for our office culture that needs corrected. I have been trying to cultivate a pensiveness I’m not prone to, and this article reminded me to stay vigilant, and peaceful.