A few weeks ago, I made one of the most stressful and expensive decisions of my life so far: buying my first car. I purchased a cute little Hyundai Elantra GT, and named her Susan. In our time together so far, I’ve learned a lot from her. In fact, I think that we can draw a lot of wisdom from our interactions with the machines that make our world go.
#1: It’s what’s on the inside that matters.
Shopping for my first car this summer, saw a gorgeous 2016 Honda Civic, with a nice trim package, sun roof, sporty wheels, and all the fancy things. Plus, it was within my price range! Then I looked closer at the dealer information and discovered that it bad been driven 55,000 miles in one year. Needless to say, I didn’t want to risk buying a car that had been driven that hard. And we’ve all known someone who bought a car that looked really cool but turned out to be a real lemon. Ultimately, it’s not the exterior but the inner workings that matter with a car, and the same thing is just as true for a person. I Samuel 16:7 tells us that “People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” — something that we as humans often fail to do with other people even more than with material possessions.
#2: Use the right fuel
You’re not going to get great results using something other than gasoline (or electricity if you’re into that) to power your car, and you’re not going to get too far in your walk with Christ if you’re not fueling properly — yes, in the literal sense of taking care of your physical needs, but in the more important sense of being in the word daily. Joshua 1:8 admonishes us to “Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.”
#3: Be careful who drives you
Would you let a friend who has several wrecks and a couple DUIs on their record take your car for the day? Probably not. We’re careful about who we let use our cars, which are valuable and important tools for our daily lives. We need to be yet more careful about what or who is driving us. So often I catch myself doing something out of a selfish motivation like revenge or pride, when the driving force behind all of my actions should be to reflect Christ to the world.
#4: Tune up regularly
Cars need a lot of TLC. Changing fluids, replacing worn parts, changing the oil, replacing brake pads, rotating and replacing tires, the list goes on and on. As complicated and “needy” as a car is, we are so much more complex, and we have infinitely more needs. It’s key that you take time for yourself. It can be really hard sometimes, and there will be seasons where you have to put yourself behind others a lot, or maybe you’ll have a hectic semester where it’s all you can do to keep your head above water. But remember, being run into the ground isn’t any better for you than it is for your car. If the Creator of the universe took a day off after breathing life into the world, you can be pretty sure you need R&R from time to time as well.
#5: Keep a picnic blanket in the trunk
Or in other words, be prepared for spontaneous little moments along the way! Embrace the little joys in the journey, whether it’s a literal journey like a road trip or the figurative journey of life. This is actually my greatest struggle of the items on this list, because I get so committed to the plan that it’s really hard for me to say, “OK, I can do this tomorrow,” and enjoy a sunny afternoon with a friend when I feel like I need to be working. Sometimes, you just need to throw the plans to the wind and go with the flow.
What object lessons has your car taught you? Thanks for reading and enjoy the drive!