Monday, April 30, 2012

A Tribute to a .. Car?

This past weekend, my wife and I were able to buy new cars.  This is truly a blessing of God.  It was only by His strength and direction that we were empowered to pay off our credit card debt. It was only by Him that we were able to work out a phenomenal deal.  I mean our salesman happened to be someone who knew my wife's family.  The sales manager owned the repair shop where my my wife and I and my father-in-law's business get all their auto repair work done.  And for some reason, the General Manager of the dealership got involved in our negotiation and just said to the others to do whatever they needed to do to make the numbers work for us.  In the end, we essentially got my wife's car for half price.  A week ago, God gave me a number and I thought that number was reasonable.  After seeing the discounts and everything else that needed to be done, that number was really miraculous. 
Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him [be] glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.  Ephesians 3:20-21 NKJV
Of course in getting new cars, we had to trade our old cars in.  Men oftentimes have a funny relationship with their cars.  I am no different.  After 133,000 miles you tend develop some kind of a relationship.  I know my car is not a person, it is a thing.  I know it has no sentience, but it does have a personality.  After that much time, you know what it can and can not do.  You know if it will give you enough boost to pass a car before oncoming traffic or if you had better stay put.  You know how fast to take a turn.  You know how it will handle in any kind of weather and therefore know how to handle it in any kind of weather.  You know every noise it has and know when just one of them does not sound the way that it should.  You know the way that it drives and so any difference in how it drives tells you that something is wrong.  The seat is practically worn to your preference.  You can reach any control with your eyes closed if you needed to,  In a sense, when you are driving, you almost feel as though the car is an extension of you.  It is not just a vehicle, but it is almost a person.  In the end, that is why we call our cars "she" and not "it." 

In that, it was bitter sweet to trade her in this past Saturday.  Her time was up.  She had a small slip in the transmission, her air conditioning was not working, and she had an airbag issue as indicated by the warning light.  She was also at an age where health problems begin to become more and more frequent.  But, it was bitter sweet.  As I said, our cars almost become a part of us.  More than that, though, there are the memories.  I met my wife in that car.  I went on road trips to Creation Fest where it also served as a tent for one of the kids who came with us.  It took my wife and I to the Outer Banks in North Carolina.  It took me to visit my future wife week after week.  It was used for a church ministry to take kids just about anywhere and everywhere and I think my wife even used it to take her class on a trip.  It has been loaded solid with Hess Trucks helping me earn money.  I had better stop now because I can write forever the memories that were part of that van. 

Then there was the weather.  If you have read this blog for any amount of time, you know about the weather I had to drive through last year.  That van took me thought anything I faced.  I remember back to its first test in the snow.  I was on a road trip to Maine and there was a surprise snow storm.  They had predicted an inch even after 6 inches had already fallen.  I was on unfamiliar winding mountain roads and despite cars spun out and stuck all around me, I safely made it through.  The same was true of all of last years snow storms.  Whether it be the 30 plus inches just after Christmas, the ice storm, or the various other smaller snow storms, she rode solid.  No matter the weather, I was safe on the road.  Neither snow, ice, hurricanes, Noreasters, or anything else kept my van from driving through safely.   As for its reliability, that is another story.  Another good story, that is.  She had her problems now and then but she never ever left me stranded on the road.  Other than the car carrier she was brought to the dealership on way back when, she always went wherever she went under her own power. 

Am I glorifying my Kia Sedona minivan?  It may seem as though I am.  If that were the case, though, I never would have traded her in.  I would have spent whatever it took to keep her on the road.  I would never ever have let her go if she were the reason for any and all of what I just wrote.  You see, I may have traded in one car for another and it may take some time for me to know that car as well as I knew the Kia, that will all change in time.  The car does not make the memories, God does.  God gave me the ability to go on those trips.  God put me in a ministry where that car was useful.  God led me to the wife that He had for me.  I just happened to have the van at that time.  As for safety, can I really give glory to the van?  If I let go of the steering wheel, it would not have driven itself.  If I had the best tires in the world, it was still rubber on ice.  It was not the car who kept me safe and sure, it was God.  And the same God who kept me safe in that car I have to believe will keep me safe in the new car. 

So I guess the point of what I am saying is that we can not hold on too tightly to earthly things.  I will miss my minivan.  I will miss it just as I missed my Kia Sephia, Eagle Summit, Dodge Daytona (well maybe not this one!), Chevy Cavalier hatchback, and Dodge Turismo (my first ride).  Someday I will probably miss my Jeep.  We all get close to things and that is not a problem so long as it does not interfere with our God or God's plan for our lives.  Nothing on this earth can be considered our treasure.  Everything we have are merely tools to help us get by until we begin our eternal life in our true home.  Remember that next time you think of the good tires you have, the picture on your television, the lush green of your lawn, the crystal clear water in your pool, your perfect garden, or whatever else you get close to in this world, remember to keep them in their proper perspective.  They are useful, diversionary, entertaining, and they can even give us a little joy, but they should never interfere with your relationship with God and His plan for your life.  As nice as they can be, they are just temporary things, our real eternal treasure is still waiting for our arrival in paradise.  Whatever we have here begins to wear down the moment we start to use it and nothing of it will last forever.  I do not know exactly what this treasure is, but I can guarantee that it will make anything we have ever owned here on earth look like junk.  Making it even better, that treasure is eternal. 
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal;  but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.   Matthew 6:19-21 NKJV

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