Lessons From Our Car
When we retired, February 1, 2008, we bought a 2008 Toyota Prius, just a couple weeks later. As it happens, that was the perfect time for it .. we got a nice discount from the sticker price, and the local dealer had exactly the car we wanted. Leather, Nav System, Bluetooth, all the goodies. Well .. except for heated seats, but having a small engine, the Prius heats up so quickly that it's not really a problem not having them. And, as I remarked to Peg last week, the car comes the closest to being exactly what it's supposed to be, of any car I've ever bought.
Hold that thought.
Peg and I went to a prayer conference this past weekend, at FBC Montgomery. There were some pretty good .. and some highly innovative .. Breakout Sessions, plus two general sessions. The "headliner" speaker was Tom Elliff, President-Elect Nominee of the IMB, who spoke Friday evening and Saturday morning. Of course, the arrangements for his being on the program were made a year ago and more, so it had nothing to do with any recent developments, and he preached two of the finest sermons I've ever heard.
I heard some terrific thoughts at the conference .. you know .. the sort that causes you to think "wow" and to make notes. One of the points was this: "Prayer is no substitute for work, but it is the work for which there is no substitute." That rang a bell with me, since I have for years thought that prayer was the work of the church .. that most of the things most churches do can be done by other entities (feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, giving shelter to the homeless, etc) .. but no other entity is charged with the privilege of prayer. And I've heard that "before you pray, there's nothing greater you can do than pray .. but after you pray, there's a lot more you can do. And both are summarized by the new thought put forth at the meeting.
The other thought, that came out of Tom Elliff's first sermons, was this: "When all I want is all God wants me to have, I'll always have all I want".
Wow. That one packs some real punch. It carries with it the thought that God wants what's best for us, regardless of our ability to see it. And that He wants to give us what's best for us, and that He really is a giving God.
The thought also awakens in me the memory that God's plans are to bless us, not curse us. And that Jesus came so we could have an abundant life .. not just an eternal one.
And the issue that, if we, being evil, know how to give good gifts, how much more does our heavenly Father want to give us good gifts? And, just as we hope that our children will want what we give them, how much God wants us to want abundant life.
When we raise our children, we teach them a lot of stuff, not so they will simply behave as we want them to, but so they will live fruitful, happy, productive lives.
Reflecting on Tom Elliff's statement, I am certain that I want what God wants for me. What He wants me to have. Or, as I heard once before I was even a practicing believer, "God's will .. nothing more .. nothing less .. and nothing else."
All I want is all He wants me to have.
OK. Back to the Prius. When we retired, I thought it would be good to try to live within social security. To do that, I figured we'd need to hold expenses down, yet we didn't want to cut out all vacations, eating out, etc. Since we were driving a Jeep Grand Cherokee, getting 11-12 mpg, and since we didn't want to be concerned about driving to see people what with high gas prices and all, we went and looked at Toyotas. And we ended up getting a wonderful deal on a car just like the one in the photo.
Since that time, it has done precisely what I wanted it to do. Four people can ride in relative comfort, but 99% of the time it's just the one or two of us, and it's comfortable even on long trips for Peg and me. The electronics are really cute and a lot of fun to play with, having several interesting displays, and the mileage is terrific. Usually in the low-to-mid 40's.
I didn't want gas prices to be a concern to us. And they aren't! We use about 3 to 3-1/2 gallons a week, fill up every two weeks, and when gas goes up a quarter a gallon, it costs us maybe $.75 extra a week.
Worry over gas prices is simply off the radar. And I guess that's my point. The car is doing now precisely what I had in mind when I bought it. It's everything I wanted in a car .. everything I'd hoped it would be.
Here's hoping that I'm filling the bill with God as well as the Prius is filling the bill with me. That's sure all I want .. what all God wants for me.