Let’s talk about flat tires and faith

By Curtis K. Shelburne

Sometimes I think my funny bone is oddly shaped or a bit dislocated. Oh, it’s definitely there and works at least as much as it should, but what strikes me as funny doesn’t always grab other folks the same way. Like this, for example:

I was heading toward home from Lubbock the other day when I noticed two signs, one almost on top of the other. One was the sign for a church, “House of Faith.” And just next to it was this sign: “Flats Fixed: Five Dollars.”

OK, so it’s not a knee-slapper, and maybe the combination of those signs would only get a grin out of a preacher. But it does get a smile out of this one. And it makes me think.

I know I have an occasional flat tire and even a “flat” day from time to time. If I had enough faith, would I have fewer flats (flat tires, that is)?

Not to pick on any one church, but this one does happen to sit right by the tire shop. Do the most faithful members of the “House of Faith” need the services of the tire shop next door less often than the same church’s Christmas and Easter bunch who wouldn’t know a tithe from a laundry detergent?

I doubt it. I couldn’t prove it, but I suspect that Christians and non-Christians, not to mention committed Christians and lackadaisical Christians, probably have flat tires in about the same rate and proportions.

And I suspect that the same thing is true for heart disease and stroke, cancer and diabetes, etc. Oh, I am sure that a person who is truly in love with the Lord, who displays the “fruit of the Spirit,” who is not given to fits of anger and resentment, who enjoys all of God’s good blessings but is not a slave to any of them … I suspect that person will reap some physical as well as many, many spiritual benefits.

The natural consequences of living a good life are as positively real as are the negative consequences of living shabbily.

But we still live in the same fallen world. And people who live in this world have flats.

Yes, you might have a flat because you were where you had no business to be. I wish everyone who drove to an x-rated bookstore or a dingy bar came away with a flat tire. They’d go there less often. But you also might pick up a nail in the hospital parking lot while you’re visiting the sick. And we need to be careful about the conclusions we draw about the “whys” of hardship and suffering in our lives and in the lives of the people around us. Bad things do happen sometimes to good people who are full of faith.

Just before Jesus healed a man who had been born blind, Christ’s disciples asked, “Who sinned? This man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus’ answer? “Neither.”

Sometimes when you’re traveling through this world, you just pick up a nail.

Curtis Shelburne is pastor of 16th & Ave. D. Church of Christ in Muleshoe. Contact him at