(This is based on an example Carlos used with the Men’s Group of our church to try and explain how often our attitude is towards Jesus.)
There once was a man who had a very old car. It was up on blocks, more rust than metal. The paint, where it still clung to the body, was chipped and faded. Inside, the seats were cracked and discolored.
The oil had long gone, leaving tacky black sludge. The belts were rotted and hanging slack. It sat, forsaken, in a weed-filled field. Forgotten, useless, and unable to move, the very thing it was made to do.
One day the man had a visitor. The visitor went and looked at the car. Walked all the way around, noting the state of the body, the engine. “Friend, I want to buy this car. I will pay you $100,000. Cash.”
The man was too shocked to answer immediately. The truth was he had long thought that the only way to get rid of the car was to pay someone to take it away! Now, this visitor was offering a ridiculous amount of money.
The visitor continued. “I’d like to leave it here, but will come each day to restore it. When it is finished, I will allow you to use it. The only thing I ask is that when I have need of it, you will give it to me without hesitation.” The visitor stuck out his hand. “Do we have a deal?”
Shaking himself out of his trance, the man took the offered hand… and the offered money.
The visitor was faithful to his word. Each day he came and worked. Over the days and weeks, the car was transformed. The body was buffed and repainted.
Cracked vinyl seats exchanged for soft, buttery leather. The dashboard polished to gleaming. Valves, pistons, spark plugs replaced. Oil, wiper and brake fluid, filled each reservoir.
One thrilling day the key was turned, and the engine, dead for years, roared to life. The visitor eased the gear shift into drive, and the car move forward, trembling slightly with barely contained power. A thing of beauty and purpose, where once had been only ugliness and uselessness.
The man could barely believe his eyes. “Wow, it’s incredible!”
The visitor smiled. “Yes it is. I know you’ll enjoy using it.” He continued, “Friend, I’m going to leave you now. Remember our agreement. When I have need of it, I will come and ask that you give it to me without hesitation.”
“Yeah, yeah.” The man nodded his head without looking, unable to take his eyes off the vision in front of him.
The man loved the car. He loved the way it felt to drive it through town, everyone staring in admiration. He loved washing it, caring for it. He loved the feeling of knowing he had something so lovely and powerful at his beck and call. It was awesome!
One day, the visitor returned. “Friend, I have use of my car. As we agreed, please bring me the keys without hesitation.”
The man balked. How dare the visitor come and make this outrageous request? Just look at the car! The engine had incredible power. The interior was pristine. The body sleek, the paint flawless. No, this was unacceptable. He had plans for his car.
“Tell you what. I don’t have anything to do on Sunday morning. Come back then, around 9:55. But be sure to have it back by 11:05. Oh, and make sure you replace any gas you use. Take it through the car wash while you’re at it.
“And don’t get too comfortable. I may or may not be able to let you have it the following Sunday. It all depends on how happy I am. Just a hint, you might want to bring me back a little something to say Thank You! After all, I am doing you a huge favor here.”
The visitor replied, “Friend, do you not recall what the car was like when I first came? Do you not recall the price I paid for it? Do you not recall the hours I worked to restore it? Do you not recall how I have allowed you freedom to it use?
“I told you: Sunday morning, one hour. Take it or leave it.”
The visitor shook his head. “You fool.” He turned and walked away, never to return.
Suddenly, the car shuddered. The man jumped in. No matter how many times he tried it, the engine would not turn over. It still was a beauty, restored and glowing, but once more dead.
In time, the man gave up, and there it sat. Forgotten, useless, and unable to move, the very thing it was made to do.