It has occurred to me how much of my life requires "high maintenance." I hadn't thought of the expression applying to life in general, but of course it does—and that's a problem. When my cars become "high maintenance" vehicles, I trade them in and take on the weary month-counting routine of car payments.
I can't do that with me. I am stuck with me. I don't seem to be as high-maintenance as some of my contemporaries, but that is my opinion, looking outward; I don't ask the opinion of those who look at me from the outside.
It doesn't have to do with age anyway. Everybody is high maintenance, and so is everything we deal with—that is, if we expect to do any good or be any good. From the age of five or so, we are our own maintenance department. I remember the first time I dropped my pants to use the little private toilet we had in the first grade cloakroom (this was over seventy years ago, but there was at least plumbing.) I don't remember what went wrong, but it took me a lot longer to get those pants back up and properly fastened than it did with Mom helping.
I remember my jobs as I worked through school—the first endless night as the malt boy in a drive-inn when I was fifteen, my first day as a shoe salesman when I was sixteen, my first day in the bookkeeping section of a major bank my first year of seminary, my first night as an orderly in a tuberculosis sanitarium during my last year of seminary. I didn't master any of those,but I could do them at some acceptable level.
The pastoral ministry, for which I was first given a provisional license fifty-five years ago and ordained 48 years ago, was high-maintenance from day one, though I wasn't always diligent.
In any endeavor, whether mechanical, personal, domestic, professional, political, or social, you cannot wait for a breakdown before you begin high maintenance. By then some damage has occurred. We wait anyway, because everything worth doing is much harder than it looks, while we hope that it will be easier than it looks; but it's all high maintenance --from the first day of school to the day you announce that you're running for president, from the first day of marriage to the first baby to the first driving exam to the last grandchild. And there aren't many "do-overs." Sometimes there are none.
I hope those of you who are Christians realize that the Christian life is high maintenance. God gives you everything you need to do your job, but he doesn't do your job. For further information, read Colossians 3 in the New Testament. I just did.