Volume: 877 September 26, 2022
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The Car in the Cellar
Years ago, a group of friends met in the basement of a city home. During a friendly game of billiards, a crazy idea popped up in conversation. “Wouldn’t it be funny,” one may have suggested, “if we could build a Model-T right here in the basement?”
Soon the group of mechanics was chuckling at the idea. They all offered to pitch in. Everyone volunteered to help bring the pieces of the automobile, one by one, through the upstairs doorway and down into the cellar.
The joke and dare became a project. As promised, each man brought a piece of the car down the steps and into the cellar. As more pieces arrived, the assembly progressed. After an extended period, the car was completely assembled: fenders, tires, engine, interior, and every other part. The professional mechanics even got it running. What a neighborhood joke the car in the basement must have been.
Time passed. One by one, the weekly meeting lost another member. The original builders even forgot about their project.
Soon, even the house was sold. The new owners chuckled at what was downstairs, but the car’s novelty was quickly forgotten.
As I recall the story, the house was condemned many years later. After the residence was destroyed, the old Ford was rolled away and sold. The house and all the mechanics were gone, but the “treasure” remained.
What a similarity that Model-T is to what happens in many lives. Little things that really have no importance become far too paramount in lives.
Many lives have been wasted, marriages destroyed, and families split up because priority was given to hobbies, friends, jobs, and “things.” Once their life is over, the possessions may remain, but what was important was destroyed or never given the priority and time it deserved.
Vast numbers of people have died with quite an impressive number of “things,” but spiritually, they were destitute. They had all this world offered them but died and went to Hell because their eternal destination never was a concern to them, but their possessions remained.
“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” Mark 8:36
“Things” are not that important. They give temporary enjoyment, but that joy is not permanent. Relationships with people are far more important. Our children, family, and friends should be valued more than temporal things.
What are we to profit if we have big cars and houses, but our children have had to raise themselves and have ruined their lives? How are we rich when we have large bank accounts, but our family does not talk with us anymore? What joy will that fancy car you sacrificed to have bring you when you have no one with which to share it?
When our life is over, our “things” will remain, but will our influence on others be remembered? Will our life have made a difference?
When the “house” of our world perishes is what remains that important? On deathbeds, the shiny frills of this world are rarely mentioned.
The assurance of Heaven and regrets for poor relationships are usually the primary concerns during our “end.” Do not wait until death is imminent to get your priorities right!
“For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” I Timothy 6:10
The Musings of a Dollar
If money could talk, it would make one of these three speeches:
- It may say, “Hold me, and I will dry out the foundations of sympathy and benevolence in your soul and leave you barren and destitute. Grasp me tightly, and I will change your sight. You will care to look upon nothing that does not contain my image. I will transform your hearing so that my soft metallic ring will sound louder than the cries of needy widows, orphans, and the perishing multitudes. Keep me, clutch me, and I will destroy your sympathy for others, your respect for what is right, and your love and reverence for God.”
- Or it may say, “Spend me for self-indulgence, and I will make your soul fat and indifferent to all except your pleasure. I will become your master, and you will think that I only am of importance and power.”
- Or it may whisper, “Give me away for the benefit of others, and I will return in streams of spiritual revenue to your soul. I will bless the one that received and the one that gave me away. I will supply food for the hungry, raiment for the naked, medicine for the sick, and send the Gospel to the needy. At the same time, I will secure joy and peace for the soul that uses me for others’ needs.”
Dug from the mountainside
Or washed from the glen,
Servant am I or master of men.
Earn me, and I bless you;
Steal me, and I curse you;
Grasp me and hold me,
A fiend shall possess you.
Lie for me, die for me,
Covet me, take me —
Friend or foe,
I’m just what you make me.
“I finally figured out why people get nervous and upset when the love of money is preached. The preacher is criticizing and devaluing their little ‘god,’ and they don’t like their religion belittled.” — B. B.
Affluence Now, Bankruptcy Hereafter
A tribe in Africa elected a new king every seven years. For seven years, the king enjoyed the high honor and was provided with every luxury known to the savage life.
During those years, his authority was absolute. He even had the power of life and death. For seven years, he ruled, was honored, and surfeited with possessions, but he was killed at the end of the period.
Every member of the tribe was aware of the king’s fate, for it was a long-standing custom. However, there was never an applicant lacking for the post. For seven years of luxury and power, men were willing to sacrifice the remainder of their life.
They may have been pagans, yet in the proudest civilization of our day, men and women of intelligence and leadership are making the same choice between things now and spiritual bankruptcy in the hereafter. Scores are willing to be bankrupt through eternity if they may only have wealth now.
Both Jewels and Life Lost
Some wealthy persons of Pompeii, aware of the coming volcanic destruction, fled, leaving valuables behind as they deemed them worthless compared to their lives.
Among the discoveries in the city’s ruins were the remains of a woman in the act of gathering rings, bracelets, and other valuable articles of jewelry left behind. The woman delayed the time of her flight and was overwhelmed by the holocaust! Both her jewels and life were lost.
“Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the LORD of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return? Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.”
A summer boarder at the Applegate’s farm asked, “How much milk does that cow give?”
“Wal,” replied farmer Applegate, “ef ya mean by voluntary contribooshun, she don’t give none. But ef ye kin get her cornered so’s she can’t kick none to hurt, an able-bodied man kin take away about ‘leven quarts a day from her.”
Unfortunately, that sounds like the way many give to the Lord. Too many are like farmer Applegate’s cow when it comes to giving.