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Staying In Your Lane

One of the phrases that has guided me during the COVID pandemic is “stay in your lane.”  This phrase is deeply personal and meaningful to me because of a frighting experience I had about five years ago.  I was driving on a rural Saskatchewan highway when I fell asleep at the wheel and awoke driving in the ditch on the opposite side of the road at 100 km/h.  A few seconds later a car drove by honking its horn at me. This event was one of the scariest moments in my life and a wake-up call that something was wrong.  Shortly after this incident I was diagnosed with insomnia.   For me, the memory of my harrowing experience gives new meaning and relevance to  “Stay in your lane.”

 In the last months I have wrestled with the politics, divisions, social implications, and the myriad of perspectives and opinions that have surfaced as a result of COVID.  At times I have found myself bogged down by everything.  Other times I wanted to shout louder than everyone else so my view could be heard -  not that I have anything new to say on the subject.  It’s in these moments I hear a voice reminding me to “stay in my lane.”

 As a minister of the gospel, I cannot afford to allow my focus on ministry to be distracted by the issues in the world around me. I have seen too many colleagues become sidetracked, speaking about government overreach and politics, yet never mentioning Jesus, grace, love, and redemption.  Our call as ministers of the gospel is to live the gospel, preach the gospel, and share the gospel.  The need is great and COVID has only made that more clear. 

When we drive in our vehicles, staying in the lane takes relatively little effort.  We are used to doing it when we drive.  Yet sometimes we drift out of our designated lane.   When we  cross over the line into another lane, it’s because we’ve let something distract us from what we are doing.  Perhaps we’re getting tired, playing with a device, or our attention has been drawn elsewhere. Something has caused our focus to shift from where it should be.

There are similarities between driving to a destination and being involved in ministry .   We know what we are called to do as ministers of the gospel, but we can become distracted by different issues – COVID just happens to be latest diversion.  It can be budget discussions, personal problems at home, the politics of the world, or any number of other things. 

When we let our focus shift away from our call to gospel ministry we begin to “drift from our lane.”  In this world, the message we proclaim and teach and live out is of foundational importance.  We cannot afford to drift from it and be sidetracked by other issues and concerns.  The gospel of Jesus – the good news of Jesus – is needed more now than ever.  and when we become distracted and lose focus on what we are called to do, ministry suffers. 

Jesus is the perfect example, showing us what it means to ‘stay in your lane’.  As we look at Jesus’ ministry, and the days leading up to Easter, Jesus stayed focused on the task His Father had given him.  Even when tempted by Satan, Jesus didn’t stray. The fruit of Jesus’ faithfulness is a blessing to us, realized in the grace offered through the death and resurrection of Jesus.

The issues of the world can feel overwhelming, but nothing can overcome or overwhelm the grace and love of God made real through Jesus Christ.  What we have is a personal relationship with the Saviour of the world - the King of Kings who brings a message of hope for a broken world.   I urge all of us to ‘stay in our lane.’  As we follow Jesus, and keep our focus on the ministry of the gospel, we can be confident that we are in the right lane.   


Mike Engbers is the Lead Pastor at Parliament Community Church in Regina, SK.  He has valued the ministry opportunities  the past years have brought and has valued seeing God at work in our world.  His hobbies include movie watching, reading books, baking, and wood working.

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