It was not that long ago that all vehicles off the assembly line had manual transmissions. On-the-column or on-the-floor were the options. In the 1960’s, cars offered an optional automatic transmission and trucks followed suit in the 1970’s. Today, automatic transmissions and cruise control are standard on just about all vehicles. You no longer need to engage the clutch to change gears or step on the gas to get down the road.
One dad shared that he had unwittingly put his fathering on cruise control. He enjoyed his hobbies and did not want to be intrusive during the kids’ teen years. Then some drug issues surfaced at school. With new intentionality, the dad stepped up his involvement and engagement with the kids. He turned off the cruise control and traded time with his pastimes for time with each child. A course correction was made to raise the next generation well.
A ruler questioned Him, saying, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” But Jesus said to him, “… You know the commandments, ‘Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.’” And he said, “All these things I have kept since my youth.” Now when Jesus heard this, He said to him, “One thing you still lack; sell all that you possess and distribute the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when he heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely wealthy. And Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God!” – Luke 18:18-24. This story of “The Rich Young Ruler” is about cruising through life under a religiosity of following rules and expectations. Obviously, the young ruler had a gut feel that the track he was on was not enough to inherit eternal life. When confronted with what Jesus said he lacked, it seems he was overwhelmed and not quite willing to turn off the cruise control of the life he had established. He was a good man but his trust was in worldly stuff. If we assume he returned home, it can also be assumed his children grew up respecting their dad and trusting in worldly stuff as well. Kids catch what dads have. Today this is called a secular worldview and it is what kids catch when dads father on cruise control.
One might think, with the advent of cruise control and all the other technological advances meant to enhance driver safety, that road crashes and deaths would be on the decrease. But over the last decade, 2011 – 2021, crashes increased 32% and deaths per 100,000 people increased 24% - per the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. It seems cruise control has become a state of mind that has pushed the intentionality needed to drive safely out the window. Similarly, dads on cruise control push the intentionality needed to father the next generation well out the window. Dads must turn from the cruise control mindset and accept the call to follow Jesus. Use this Father’s Day month to make a course correction and be intentional about becoming a faithful father.
Prayer guide: Lord, thank You for Your word and the opportunity to follow You. I confess my fathering has been on cruise control with a focus on self and stuff. Forgive me. I want to turn off the cruise control to be more involved and engaged in my children’s lives. Help me tune-in to You through time in prayer, scripture, worship and study. Grant me strength to make a course correction and follow You as I lead my family. That is the dad You call me to be, and that is the dad my kids need to see. Amen.
A faithful father turns off the cruise control and follows Jesus.