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Monday, December 15, 2008

Lessons From A Cruddy Car

I've had some pretty serious clunkers since I got my first driver's license. These days, it seems to be vogue for parents to bestow upon their children new cars upon their 16th birthdays. Of course, it's for safety reasons.

Oh please.

Back in my day, we learned life lessons by having to deal with getting stuck on the side of the road (always on a rainy day, on a country road where the nearest phone was at least 5 miles away...uphill...through five feet of snow).

Anyway, that's another post for another day. Before I got my current car three years ago, I've had many cars, all in varying stages of jalopy-ness. I often would comment that the Blue Book values of my cars fluctuated depending on how much gas was in the tank.

The value of something, or someone, is determined by what that thing or person means to someone else. eBay has become a cultural phenomenon by capitalizing on this fact. You find an old button in the attic that means nothing to you. You consider just throwing it away, but instead, you list it on eBay. Then someone who collects antique buttons buys it for $100 because it holds value to them. Value, like beauty, tends to be subjective.

Not always.

The relationship between God and man is unique. God loves each and every one of us more than we can imagine, and none of it is based on merit. How could it be? When you're God, can a mere human actually impress you? Yeah...no.

On the other side of the same coin, God's value doesn't fluctuate. So many people call out to God when they're in deep trouble. You've heard the phrase, "there are no atheists in a fox hole." Well, it's human nature to look for help when we're desperate. We make promises. "God, I'll never do that again if you just get me out of this."

Here's the thing. People who don't have a relationship with God and don't spend time getting to know Him tend to humanize Him. They ask questions like, if God is such a loving God, why do children suffer? Why is there murder? The simple answer is because we have a free will. He allows us to make our own choices, even if they're evil.

We have devalued God. We have somehow reduced God to being the corrector of all our screw-ups. We made him Alice from The Brady Bunch. We run around the house, making messes, and He is supposed to follow us around and clean up after us so there are no consequences.

God has already done all He needs to in order to deserve our devotion. In fact, He's done more than keep His end of the bargain. He's gone significantly out of His way to give us life and a home which supports life. Namely, Earth. If that weren't enough, when Adam and Eve fell victim to the world's first and most lethal Trojan horse virus, the consequences were separation from God. From that point on, people had to offer sacrifices and crazy rituals to win God's favor.

That is, until God provided the ultimate sacrifice, once...and for all.

If God doesn't do one more thing for me. If He doesn't answer one more prayer. If He allows me to suffer as a result of my own mistakes. If He doesn't respond to my attempts to please Him with my words, thoughts and actions...He is still God.

If God could retire from all His work and just sit back knowing the body of His work is good and complete, He still deserves my devotion. God's value doesn't increase because He does something really good in my life. He doesn't owe me anything.

Thankfully, God doesn't retire. Thankfully, God still blesses us. Thankfully, even when we endure hardships, He is constantly at work in our lives and loving us through it all. Unrequited love breaks God's heart more than it hurt mine to be snubbed by that very cute girl I really liked. When we turn our backs on God, it brings Him great pain. That is because of the value we hold in His heart. God carries your picture around with Him every minute of every day of your life. In fact, he knew you before you ever took a breath. He eagerly awaited giving you life. He created heaven, and gave us a way to spend eternity there not for us, but for Himself. He loves you so much that He made a way to spend eternity with you.

How's that for value?


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