I remember sitting in a luxury car when I was twenty-something. It was nice. Like you-know-you’ve-made-it nice.
And it wasn’t mine.
My ride was courtesy of one of our church members whose wife was having surgery that day. He hadn’t eaten and she made me promise to make him go get something to eat.
I didn’t say anything about the car. No compliments or squealed observations. I do remember it smelt newer than new. As I navigated, he did a lot of talking. He was nervous. I’m glad he did the talking that day.
That should be my car, I once thought. Of course, with the car should come the house, the other house and all the other corporeal odes to comfort. Those were my goals, my ambition.
“John,” my driver told me, “I’ve worked really hard to get all the things we have. And now I know none of it matters at all. This car is not worth all the trouble I went through to get it. What matters is my relationship with my God and my wife.”
Was he reflecting on his life while driving to lunch? Or was he telling me to get my head out of the clouds?
When that day comes to mind, I remember what St. Augustine said: Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.
In his own way, that’s what my lunch companion was saying.
So many times we try to fill our lives with what we assume will make us happy. The device of restlessness is intermittent happiness. That stuff makes us happy for a while. Soon enough, we need more of it or something else altogether. It’s a perpetual chase.
And it’s nothing new.
The prophet Isaiah’s word to the people of God in Isaiah 30 shows us this. God’s people would pick sides with their enemies. One day they align with them against another enemy. The next they form another alliance. Their trust and security would be in the latest partnership they made. Not in their identity as God’s people.
Isaiah warned them their rejection of God would lead them into trouble. If only they would learn that “in returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.”
If only God’s church today could learn the same lesson.
When will we confess our weariness at seeking more than Christ alone? We seem to get more excited about the shiny toys of worship and ministry than we do the grace of God. And what do we have to do and keep doing to get all those lustrous toys? Better, what are we not doing because we’re too busy doing that?
Riding to lunch in that luxury car made an impact on what I want (or don’t want) for my life. And God has shown me the impact it could have on our walk with God, too.
Can you see it?