Sweetwater Presbyterian

Small in size, Big in Faith and Love


If you are going to drive, then you are going to need gas in your vehicle.  Although  in this new age I guess you might need electricity for whatever you are driving  but I admit I haven’t gotten there yet and this is when I start feeling my age ‘cause I have thoughts like “I’m not sure about those new fangled things” like electric cars…..
When I think of gasoline and cars and driving I always think back to when I first started driving as a teenager.  I grew up in a very small town and if I remember right there were only 3 gas stations in the town and they had names - there was Bud’s (that was the Exxon dealer) and Whitakers (I can’t remember what kind of gas they had) and then there was Carl’s (The Pure Oil station).  My dad did books for the Pure Oil station and I use to impress my friends who were riding with me by pulling up my Ford Falcon to the gas pumps at the Pure Oil station where someone would come out and pump the gas and clean the windshield and check the oil (remember those “Full Service” days!) and without saying a word I would drive off…… And whoever happened to be in the car with me would look aghast and incredulously wonder how I was getting away with ‘stealing’ gas since I didn’t pay and they didn’t ask! It really increased my 'cred since I obviously was a person with great power and importance.....Of course whoever pumped the gas just went inside wrote it down somewhere and when my Dad would come to do their books he would pay - what a deal!
Which made me think about the getting gas experience in this day and age which is quite different…….  It really hit me the other day when I stopped to get gas.  In today's gas getting procedure, you have to pull up to the gas pump, punch a button to open up the little door where the gas tank is…..
Now I have one of those cars where you don’t need to put your keys into the ignition to start the car, your keys just have to be in the car which has its up and down sides but that is a discussion for a later date.  How this is relevant to my gas getting is the whole police thing I sat through one time about making sure you take your keys out of the car because the police told us about how easy it is for car thieves to just jump in your car and take off while you are getting your gas since the start your car keys are in the car and you are not.... 
So you punch your button and open the gas tank and remember to get your keys and stick them in your pocket or hold them or whatever is convenient.  You get your credit card so that you can purchase your gas - although I guess if there is no credit card you park, lock your car, walk to the  building, pay cash for the gas and walk back to your car, and begin again.
Now here is where the getting the gas experience has really become complicated….. I look at the screen on the gas pump while trying to think because not only is the screen on the gas pump flashing commercials at me there are also commercials blaring over the loud speaker. 
It is now that I feel like I am having to take an exam before I can get my gas.  Do you want a car wash Y/N?  Do you have a special for this gas station card? Y/N and the questions continue until I am finally granted the privilege of inserting my credit card…. where I am again asked several questions before the gas buying process can begin.
When I am finally granted the opportunity to pump my own gas, I am still inundated with on screen commercials and loud speaker commercials and when the gas pump finally clicks announcing my gas filling is complete, I hang up the pump handle and am again quizzed with multiple questions before I am ‘allowed’ to finally leave the gas station (I don’t think they are called gas stations any more  but I’m old…..).  
I don’t know which was harder, the getting in and out of the car and pumping my own gas or the questionnaire I had to complete in order to buy my gas….
Now I know us preacher types are always trying to get the people in our realm of existence to learn Bible things.  I often in the middle of my sermon will look at the congregation and say something like, “Now who was Jacob’s father?” and wait until some brave soul shouts out an answer.  I’m always saying things like, “Memorize this verse” or be sure you remember whatever….. 
And it is important that we learn Bible facts and stories and people, but one thing is for sure - the pearly gates are not going to be like a gas pump.  We are not going to get to St Peter’s little stand at the entrance to heaven and be confronted with a quiz - In order to enter paradise you need to list 10 of the 12 disciples, answer the following 4 questions about the wilderness journey and say from memory Psalm 23……
God wants us to read and know the words given to us in scripture, but it is not because we are going to have to pass an exam, it is so these words can inspire us and correct us and guide us and give us comfort.
So don’t worry, the gas pumping experience is far more difficult than being with your Lord forever!