18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.
20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
Teaching models are abundant in the Scriptures. Shepherd and sheep, warfare, planting and harvesting, building a house and athletic games are just a few that are used in the Bible to illustrate and clarify the eternal principles of the Kingdom of God. In a word, we can understand the invisible things of God through the study of the natural creation.
The model I use in this writing is not a model from the Scriptures (contrary to the belief of some more avid bikers, Jesus did not ride a Harley, but a Donkey). However, my personal relationship with Harley has referred me to the scriptures many, many times. I ask that I might share some of these references with you as I recount the Lessons That Harley Taught Me.
I had ridden a motorcycle or two as I was growing up, the largest of which was a 350 Honda. Therefore, I was almost totally unprepared for what I felt when in my sixty-second year I stood the 2001 Road King off its stand. I couldn’t believe the weight. However, after two full years of considering the proposition, I was determined to ride something and this was what I wanted.
My wife was horrified! Not just for my life’s sake, but for hers as well, for I had suggested that we might enjoy riding together. After a half night of somewhat heated debate, we retired and I resigned myself to life without a bike.
The next morning brought a change of her mind and we set in motion a fresh experience that was to be very rewarding and would bring many biblical lessons to light as well.
I had precious little motorcycle savvy, but I did have some good common sense. I had the former owner bring “Mr. Harley” to me and park him under the car shed. It was great achievement for me - and somewhat a mammoth undertaking - to move him into the garage for his first night’s stay. The next day I would begin my “teaching and training” by riding circles around my house, thereby making the initial ground impressions that would eventually become a ditch above the banks of which the neighbors would eventually see only my helmet going “round and round.”
Early on I opened the Owner’s Manual. On every page I read, “This thing will kill you!! Or, at the least, it will seriously injure you!!” What an encouragement. I hid the book from my wife.
My two sons heard of my plans to become a motorcyclist and, along with my wife, ride the Smokey Mountains Parkway. Their response was, “Why do you want to kill both of you at once???
My wife refused to be a passenger until I had made enough miles around the house to assure I could be trusted with her good health. My grandson, Aaron, was not so demanding and became my first passenger. We mounted at my garage and I carried him to his house, a total distance of seventy five yards. Having never assumed such task, I offered no instruction to him, for I knew none to give him. This was to be a ride of firsts: my first passenger and my first drop. Before I put my feet down, even before I fully stopped, Aaron bailed. His mother heard the racing engine, the sound abruptly stop as the engine shut down, and came out on the porch. When mine and Aaron’s full effort failed to get the beast to his feet, Jennifer offered to come and help. I teasingly account that, as my grandson and I looked on, his mother stood the bike herself, then offered to hold it as I sheepishly “got back on.” I have been dumped several times since, but the humiliation seems no less for the frequency.
It was strongly suggested on every hand, especially by my wife, that I get myself some motorcycle schooling. And so, now I was off to town for a week end of survival training. This was certainly a quality health decision and it made my bike license endorsement easier to get, but I was equally as grateful for the five dollars a year saved on my insurance. Upon graduating, I was ready for my debut highway appearance.
Wow! That was some half mile! Now for three hours of going round and round the Church parking lot. I was making miles and getting experienced. A couple of weeks of daily repetitions and I would be ready to go to town.
I have never felt more naked….stripped bare of everything but a skimpy little windshield! There I sat at that stop light. Every eye was on me. I had no armor. Where is my pick-up truck? Everyone else was on the inside; I was on the outside. I was exposed! There were huge, four wheeled tanks all around me and there I sat in the middle of them on a glorified two wheeled bicycle with a motor. The light changed. Don’t stall it and don’t race the engine! Everybody’s listening. Don’t drop it and don’t wobble! Everybody’s watching. Don’t get confused in all the procedure. Everybody’s expecting you to. Pure Paranoia!
But it all passed and I eventually put my clothes back on. Soon the rear tire showed tread wear and the fifteen thousand mile service was screaming at me. Knowing the scriptures indicate that “to obey is better than sacrifice,” I carried Harley in for the necessary attention, noting that the owner’s manual had indicated that if I did not, I might just furnish the meat for the offering. I picked Harley up a couple days later and left a $750 check parked in his place. I left the shop with a slightly empty feeling, but I was absolutely convinced that my motorcycle education had been much enriched.
Moved by my aforementioned educational experiences, I soon invested in a service manual: no death threats; no warnings of my being mutilated and spending an eternity in excruciating pain; only instructions concerning proper maintenance, troubleshooting and repair. How utterly refreshing! I offered it as good reading to my wife, but she declined.
There are some miles of pavement behind me now, but most certainly in no circle would I qualify as a “Biker.” In fact, for the most part, I am yet a “civilian.” But those things I have learned might make a little positive difference for another class of citizens. If in any way God has dealt with your life, read the rest of my account. I think afterwards you will agree with me that Harley could be considered quite a competent teacher of good and godly lessons.
(More Harley to come)