As published in the Salvos Warcry Magazine 14th July, 2018. http://www.warcry.org.au/single-post/2018/07/14/“Squark”-is-not-the-sound-a-car-should-make
The sound of my grinding ignition was too loud to be muffled. Each time I started up, my little blue bomb of a car would give a good screeching and a squeal, and I would pray to God that no-one was nearby (though that was seldom the case). Apparently the technical term for the cause of the squawking was to do with a ceased bearing in the starter motor thingy. Whatever it was called, it was not good.
Surrounded by prestige Audis, BMWs and Mercedes, there was no way of hiding my little blue bomb as I drove it out of the private-school car park each day. I would laugh it off as the other mothers would glance my way in horror at the sound, which put everyone’s teeth on edge, but secretly I was wishing I could disappear, and prayed for the day I could trade that thing in for a newer, nicer, quieter-starting model.
One day, I voiced my concern to my husband. The car was so embarrassing to drive, especially to the school, and it was surely about time to trade it in. His helpful advice at the time was, “Perhaps if you wash it and treat it as if it’s your dream car, it might turn into something better.” My thoughts were, “If we want something better, maybe we should take it to the wrecker, then we could purchase something else!”
Realising I was fighting an uphill battle, I decided I would do just what he suggested and see if my bomb would magically turn into a nice upgrade. So each weekend, I ventured to my garage and began giving that neglected old car a good scrubbing. I had my little helpers, and together we scrubbed the roof, the bonnet and the rusting boot, trying very hard to miss the rusted-out holes in the corners and the edges.
We washed and polished the tyres and, as we did, a funny thing happened. The more I spent time making my bomb of a car look nice, I actually found myself feeling a little bit proud of it! Vacuuming the seats and shining up the paintwork gave me a feeling of satisfaction and achievement, and even though she continued to squawk and carry on when I turned the key, it didn’t seem to bother me so much.
When the time finally came around when the little blue bomb turned into a beautiful Volvo station wagon, I was well and truly ready to do the swap—but not without a little sentimental sadness (just a little). The car that had brought me embarrassment ended up teaching me that I could make whatever I had look its best.
In Luke chapter 16, Jesus tells a parable about the shrewd manager. He was about to lose his job, but made the most out of a bad situation by how he handled it and so was rewarded.
Jesus goes on to say in verse 10–12: “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?”
We are given a great responsibility, even when we have little. It may sometimes feel like what we have is not worth much or is not effective or purposeful, but often the opposite is true. It is the small beginnings of things that set the foundation for what is to come.
Now I’m not saying that if you go out and wash your car it will turn into a Ferrari (though my husband still lives in hope), but I am saying, if we can be trusted with a little then we can be trusted with a lot. The training ground is often where it matters most.
©Rebecca Moore 2018