At that time my friend, Arthur, was 90 years old. Arthur had saved his money and purchased a brand new car. He was a committed Christian and was very frugal – so he only put the minimum insurance on the car so he could give more money to Missions projects. He was proud of his new vehicle and took very good care of it.
Arthur was a retired school teacher who had spent each summer of the past 65 years volunteering at a Christian Camp near the ocean located a six-hour drive from his home. His car was only a few weeks old when he got to camp that year. He was in charge of the maintenance crew and had four or five teenage boys from other states working with him. Some of these boys were sent to camp for the entire summer because they needed some “Tough Love” and they always seemed to find themselves in trouble. The maintenance crew all stayed together in a cabin near the lake. Arthur cared for these boys and did his best to share the gospel with them as they had daily Bible studies. A few of the boys over the years responded well to these efforts, but most of the boys just tolerated Arthur’s efforts and as soon as possible they dashed out.
Late one night one of the boys in the cabin decided it would be a great idea to take Arthur’s new car for a joy ride. He snuck the car keys away from Arthur’s bedside table and was gone with the car. This boy was 15 years old and had no driver’s license and no experience driving.
The details of the crash are unclear, but somehow this young man managed to hit a telephone pole and spin out of control, sending the car off a pier and into the ocean. The boy managed to get out of the car and get climb to safety. Someone who heard the crash called the police and when the officers arrived they found the boy sitting on the pier looking down into the dark water where the wrecked car sank twenty feet below the surface.
The police took the boy to the hospital – and he had not a scratch on him. He had not been drinking, and technically he had not “stolen” the car since he worked for the owner – it was termed “Unauthorized Use” so they decided to take him home. His home was several states away, so they decided to take him back to the cabin at the camp where he was living for the summer. It was about 4:00 AM in the morning when Arthur awoke to the knock on the door of the cabin and opened it to find two police officers holding one of his crewmembers between them.
It was at this point that Arthur was informed that this young man had taken his brand new car, wrecked it, and left it sitting at the bottom of the harbor in twenty feet of water. Arthur’s heart sank! Since it was not technically “stolen” and since he had put minimum liability insurance on it, his new car was a total loss and he would receive nothing for it.
When the police left the cabin in the wee hours of the morning, Arthur stood face to face with the young man who had so carelessly destroyed his new car. During the moments of absolute silence that followed, Arthur decided to teach this boy a lesson he would never forget.
So in the quiet of the morning, as the sun began to rise, Arthur picked up his Bible, sat the boy down at the kitchen table, and shared the Gospel of Jesus Christ with him as never before. The young man broke down in tears, weeping and repenting of his young life of trouble. The true love of Christ became real to him that early dawn, and he learned a lesson he will never forget.
Arthur was able to look past the total loss of his car and the pain of being betrayed by someone he trusted, to realize the incomparable value of saving a soul for eternity. The car would eventually end up in a junkyard, but that precious soul would either go to Hell or be safe with Jesus for all eternity. Arthur decided on eternity with Jesus.
What about us? Can we look past the pain of our circumstances? Can we see through the fog of uncertainty, the pain of unemployment, the grief of a lost loved one, and the discomfort of our life that has been turned upside down?
Will we hold onto the Truth when we feel our strength is gone?
Will we look past our temporal world and embrace the reality of our eternal salvation?
Will we teach those we meet in our lives a lesson they will never forget?
Will we share the Gospel of Jesus Christ when it is not easy? When we don’t “Feel like it?”
Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. 1 Corinthians 15:58