I Gave My Car Away!


I gave my car away this past week!   Aren’t I cool!  Gosh, am I not the coolest pastor you know!?   Actually I’m not even close.   The car I gave away was a PIECE OF JUNK!!!!   An old Hyundai that my son had pretty well run the wheels off and trashed!   I am serious.   It smoked like my uncle George’s stogy, backfired like the car in Uncle Buck when it went up steep hills, had a key that had broken off in the ignition, had about 50 spots where it looked like someone had taken a hammer to the front hood, and it smelled “horrible” (a smell that had this combination: a teenager who hadn’t showered in 3 months, the smell of a cigarette butt that has been sitting in an old can of beer for a year, and I think “cat.”)   What can I say: it was worse than junk!  What do you do with a piece of junk like that?

I thought about just calling up the junk yard and having them come and get it, but I kept thinking there must be someone who has no sense of smell who might be able to use this thing.  And so I started talking to Dee, our office manager, and she said that maybe Camp Unity could use it!  And just as I was about to call them, she popped her head in my office and said, “you know maybe my guy could use it.”   I said, “my guy?”   “Oh, the homeless guy that lives in my house.”   It seems during Camp Unity Dee became good friends with one of the leaders of camp unity and after visiting with her family and with others, decided to offer him a room for rent.”  (now that is so waaaaaay cooler than a pastor trying to give away a junky car…right?)  

And so a plan was hatched.  Dee took the car home and showed it to her friend and she put it, “who knows maybe he might…but I can’t see it…that thing stinks!”   The next thing I know Dee has sent me a voice message on my phone.   “Brook,” she said, “you cannot believe the response from my guy!  He absolutely LOVES the car!   The first thing I told him was that it had a ton of miles on it (180,000 +) and he said, ‘Are you kidding me, Dee, this is a Hyundai, it will go forever.”   Later I called her and asked her if they had opened the trunk yet because if they hadn’t…DON’T! (I had forgotten that I had 3 huge bags of old trash in the back that I was going to throw in the dumpster a week ago and had forgotten too).   Dee’s response was a huge laugh.  “Don’t worry.  We already opened it up.  Man did it stink!  But do you know what my guy said, ‘Look, Dee!  Can you believe it!  It’s even got a real spare tire!’   He didn’t even see the trash!”

Can you believe it!?  He loved that thing!    For him it was a ticket to a new job, mobility, and more!  For me it was junk upon junk upon junk.

This week as we go about our “upwardly mobile lives.”  As we head to work complaining about a noisy left turn indicator (I actually found myself doing that today!), let us take some time to put our lives into perspective.  Let us get down on our knees and thank God for the small things like Cheerios for breakfast, and the memory of the first child who stuck one up his nose and couldn’t get it out!  For the smile on our child’s face the first time he hit a baseball, and the tooth she lost the first time she tried to catch one! For the little poop in the corner of your living room created by a Christmas puppy named “Sugar,” and the $900 vet bill that removed the zinc washer that almost killed her! For grilled cheese sandwiches and peanut butter in all its glorious shapes and forms! For a junked-out, old-cig-stanky, hammered-on, broken-down piece of you-know-what, and the glorious human being who sees it the way God sees us…beautiful and sacred, hope-filled, and full of precious worth!

Your pastor, thinking maybe being homeless for some of your life can be a good thing?,  Brook

Tim Schaaf