I think we often read past things without thinking about them or really comprehending them. I think we do it with the Bible all the time. “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back…” (luke 9:62) comes to mind. We could easily read right past that line since we don’t plow by hand any more (and most of us don’t plow at all!) Too often we don’t try to figure out what is being said, but for the sake of getting the reading done we just keep reading and miss important things.
I’m back to reading some Dietrich Bonhoeffer. He talked about figuratively “adding a spoke to the wheel”. I almost hesitate to put the quote here because I don’t want to get side tracked, but it is: “We are not to simply bandage the wounds of victims beneath the wheels of injustice, we are to drive a spoke into the wheel itself.” I don’t want to talk about social justice today. (You can read something I’ve written about social justice here.)
Instead, I want to explore what Bonhoeffer meant by adding a spoke to the wheel. While I understand the concept, I’ve really never thought about spokes and wheels before. A wagon wheel from the old covered wagons would have a few very strong spokes. My bicycle has a whole lot of very thin and weak spokes. If my bicycle wheel only had 6 of the thin metal spokes, it would never hold me up. The more spokes we add to the wheel the stronger it is.
Among others, my friends Carrie Roush and George Ortiz come to mind. Carrie is in Haiti. George is in Providence, RI. They are both doing ministry at the ground level. Carrie is a long term missionary in Haiti and George is doing great things on the streets of Providence feeding homeless and (at their request) has begun a church on the street. We provide their spokes. Without spokes, the wheels could not turn and the mission would be left undone. We are adding a spoke to their wheel when we financially support their work. We are adding a spoke to their wheel when we pray for them and the mission and vision God has given to them. We are adding a spoke to their wheel by raising awareness of their Jesus glorifying work. They can always use another spoke. And odds are you know others who are doing soul saving work in Jesus’ Name who could use another spoke in their wheel. And to use another wheel term – that’s where the rubber meets the road!