When I was fifteen, my parents gave me my first car. It was a Saturn. I loved that car. My brother and I shared that car, had fun in that car, and if I’m totally honest, abused that car. (We were teenagers, that’s what they do.)
So ten years ago when my wife and I needed a new car, I saw another Saturn, and I knew I had to have it. And again, I fell in love with that car.
It was the first car we bought with our own money. The first car we picked out at a dealership. The first car that we spent hours sitting with a salesman negotiating a price. The first car my wife and I paid off together.
It has taken us on more road trips than I can count. My brother drove my 8 month pregnant wife the LONG and UNCOMFORTABLE drive from Orlando to Dallas while I followed them in a moving truck. We slept in that car when there were no available hotel rooms on that same trip because they were all full of people displaced from their homes by Hurricane Katrina.
I drove my first newborn daughter home from the hospital in that car. (Another very long trip even though we only lived three miles from the hospital… new Dads always drive extra slow on that trip.)
I have probably spent more money on repairs to the car than I paid for the car. And I imagine the amount of money spent on that car is numerically equal to a number of times I have defended that car to my wife when she (wisely) wanted to replace it with a more dependable one.
I loved that car.
But the time has come to say goodbye. I told my wife that I would drive it until the “wheels came off”. Well, almost 200,000k miles later, I practically have.
It has been a hard decision for me. The car died a few months ago and has been sitting in my driveway since. I know it still has some miles left in it, and someone with the know-how will be able to fix it up and use it. Unfortunately, I don’t have the know-how and my wife does not have the patience. So we made the decision to say goodbye.
Even after we made the decision, I have been hesitant.
Until last week.
Last week there was an unsolicited knock on our door. It was a young couple with two kids that are the same age as our two youngest. They saw the car sitting in our driveway and asked if it was for sale, and if so for how much. They were looking for a second car, didn’t have much money to spend, and didn’t care if it ran or not. He was a mechanic; he can fix anything.
I waited a week and then called him back. He missed my call, and when he did call me back he apologized for calling so late, but he and his wife were in church, “praying for a blessing”. (He has no idea that I’m a Pastor)
I told him I did not know how much of a “blessing” it would be, but if he wanted the car, it was his, he could have it.
And so today, when he gets off work, he is coming over with a trailer to take it away.
I was thinking last night and wondering why saying goodbye to this car has been so hard for me. It’s just a car. But as I thought more about it, I remembered a commitment my wife and I made when we were first married to never miss a Tithe or ignore a chance to give, even if it was a little, when the Lord prompted us to. I also remembered all of the times we had to decide if we were going to pay the car payment or another bill with the little money we had left any given month. But even though we only had the money for one, God would always provide for both. We never missed a car payment, and we have always been able to pay our other bills.
God always provided what we needed when we needed it.
The “Sermon On The Mount” has always been my favorite teaching in the Bible, and Matthew 6:31-34 has always been a foundation for me and has given me great hope: “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”
So after today, we’ll be down to one running car. Can I replace it? Not right now. Do I have a plan? Not really. Am I worried? Not at all.
That car is more than a car. It is a blessing from the Lord. And now that car is going to be a blessing for someone else.
So, with all that said, today, with a heart full of joy and peace, I say goodbye to my old four-wheeled friend.