Horseless Carriage: The Intentionally Growing Christian
For the last two weeks, we have been looking at the motorized vehicles of Main Street U.S.A. and the way they illustrate different approaches to being a Christian. The Omnibus represents Tourist Christians—those who are in it for the fun and what’s in it for them, but when the going gets hard or they have to actually take some responsibility for their walk with Christ, they start looking for the easy way out. The Fire Truck represented Fire Escape Christians—those who are in it only to avoid Hell, and either do what they do out of fear or they do as little as possible (similar to Tourist Christians) just to “escape the flames.”
For a brief history of the introduction of these vehicles to the park, see the first post in the series. The horseless carriage was the first of the motorized Main Street vehicles introduced to the park. Some claim it to be a replica of an Oldsmobile; others say a Franklin touring car, but it was actually designed as a composite of many gas-driven cars of the early years in automobile history. Though its parts were nearly all fabricated by Disney staff, some of the external parts, like the lights, are authentic pieces from the turn of the century—1903 or so.
This vehicle is the transition between two eras. As America moved out of the age of horses and into the age of machines for transportation, the horseless carriage led the way. Gas lights gave way to electric (as they do on the Magic Kingdom’s Main Street U.S.A. in Walt Disney World), and horse-drawn carriages gave way to horseless carriages.
Of the three vehicles on Main Street, it’s also the most accessible to the average family. Only certain people could drive a tour bus like the Omnibus, and everyone else had to pay to ride in it. Only certain people would even be allowed on a fire truck. But a horseless carriage was for everyone. Family could ride, and so could friends. Even strangers could be given a lift.
The Intentionally Growing Christian recognizes both of these realities of the life of faith. It assumes forward progress, and it is available to everyone. Their question is, “How can I grow in Christ and show Him to others?”
There are many calls in Scripture, especially the New Testament, to grow, and Timothy is a great example of an Intentionally Growing Christian. Paul recognized his willingness and desire to grow, and to teach others. (Not everyone who fits into this category will formally teach, but everyone will share their faith in some way.) Timothy was acquainted with grace, and with suffering.
“You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others. Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.”
This doesn’t come from fear or obligation. There’s a reason Paul starts this with a reminder of God’s grace. That’s where it comes from, gratitude and love for the grace and love God has given us.
The Intentionally Growing Christian also recognizes that a relationship with Jesus is not something to be hoarded or hidden. Jesus said, “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest,” and “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Peter reminded his readers, “The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. Instead He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
Growing in Christ means more than internal growth; it is also bearing fruit—and one way to bear fruit as a Christian is by introducing others to Jesus, through your words and actions.
Three different vehicles, with three different histories and purposes. As each rolls down Main Street U.S.A., it asks the question, which of us are you?
Question: How can you recognize an Intentionally Growing Christian…or your own tendency to be one? What is one step you can take towards being one more consistently? Talk about it in the comments below, or on our Facebook page.