I’m Going To Add an Extra Hour if it Kills Me!

I am not really a “car-guy”. I know what makes up a car-guy. They love to talk about cars. They know the intricacies of what is “under the hood”. They go to car shows and ogle at all the new models, and talk about their dream cars. I like cars. When I buy one, I enjoy it. Especially if it is relatively new and looks nice. I try to keep them that way – ding free, washed, vacuumed, polished, etc. Sometimes I can’t keep up, but it is a goal of mine. I must admit that it bothers me when my cars get dinged up or scratched, so I try to avoid it. There have been two instances in my life when this went poorly. The first was years ago when I lived in Drexel Hill. We had just bought a Mercury Mystique. It was a pretty little car and I wanted to keep it that way. So, I would park far away from others in parking lots and try to avoid dump-trucks on the highway. I even parked far from those little booths where carts are collected in grocery store parking lots, in case a cart attacked my car. We had two cars at the time and the Mystique was newer, so it was decided we would park it in our small single car garage. Every day I would carefully pull it in. There was just enough room for the car and a few tools that I had hung on the back wall.  Well, wouldn’t you know it? One day I am carefully (too carefully..) inching the car into the garage and I accidently bump the back wall, and all of the garden tools that I had hanging came crashing down on the hood. Ugh! The next instance happened a few years ago. We just bought our Honda HRV with 83 miles on the odometer. It was a wonderful find, and the nicest car we had ever owned. So, once again I took to doing what I could to protect it. One day I am on my way home, and it is election time, so the streets are lined with signs for every local candidate that has a shot at office. It was a particularly windy day and all of a sudden, one of these signs with their two little metal legs goes whipping up into the air and comes down on….guess whose car? Not only that, the wind keeps hold of it and in ways that defied physics and gravity, the wind slides it all around the hood of my car, with the sign traveling edge to edge but somehow not coming off. I eventually had to stop and physically remove the sign, only to see that it has done a number on my hood, with scratches in multiple places.


I tell you these stories to illustrate how futile our efforts are to achieve certain outcomes. All my maneuvers made me think that I had some control over what kind of shape my cars would stay in, but clearly that was not the case. One extra touch of the gas pedal and one random wind and, poof, there goes my cars’ finishes. I spent a lot of time worrying about damage and dings to my cars, and what did it get me? Damage and dings. Yet this magical thinking, that we have control over things extends to bigger areas of our lives. We believe that by exercising, we can guarantee a long life. We believe by working so many years, we can guarantee financial security. We believe that by installing security devices and fire alarms around our home, we can ward off calamity. Some of us even believe that if we do (or don’t) watch our favorite sports teams play, we will guarantee their victory (I wish that was true for me and the Miami Dolphins). How foolish we are in our thinking and actions.


Jesus spoke about our want to control things when he said:


25 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life[a]? 26 Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? 27 “Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 28 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! 29 And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 30 For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.” Luke 12:25-31


Hmmm. A single hour. A seventy year life span has 613,200 hours in it, and we can’t add a measly one?! The truth is that we can’t control our life span, or what we will have to eat, or wear, or live in. Yet people go around each day under the illusion that what they have and care for will remain as it is (including cars!). God knows what we need, and that we have little control over it He also knows that there are much more important things, such as His kingdom work, which we should be giving most of our attention and energies to anyway. Jesus told the story of a man who lived under the illusion that he was all set for life.

 “16 And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. 17 He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ 18 “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. 19 And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’21 “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.” – Luke 12:16-21

Well, that didn’t go well. The sad thing is that we wring our hands and sweat out our days trying to keep a tight grip on what is most important to us, and end up no better for it. As a matter of fact, we often end up worse! For example, what if someone worries incessantly over how many years they will live or what their quality of life will be?. They do what they can to live as long and as well as possible, but in the process of all of this, they worry themselves to death. I had a mom who worried herself to death. I never saw her death certificate, but I am pretty sure that next to cause of death it says, “Excessive worry”.

No, we must guard our hearts against such futile thinking and worry and focus our attention on seeking God’s kingdom and righteousness. I wonder if sometimes God pries things from our hands that we are holding on to too tightly. If he does, I am sure he is trying to help us depend on Him more. When I get to heaven, I would like to ask God about the Mercury Mystique and the Honda HRV. I won’t though. I know that when I look upon Him I will have much more important things on my mind. Maybe I should just think more about those things now.

For Him,




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