Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The Gift of (Not) Giving

and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight.--1 John 3:22
Sunday, I mentioned how easy it is for us to distort this verse. Taken out of its context, it appears that John is telling us that God can be our "divine wishing well." The fact that we would jump to this conclusion shows that our passions are often placed more on stuff than on God. As I thought more about it, it also revealed my arrogance...that I would actually think I know what I need.

In the message, I used the example of praying for a Ferrari. It would be great to have a Ferrari, so I simply (yeah, right) need to obey His commandments, and trust that God will bring it to my doorstep. Could it possibly be a bad thing receive a 2007 Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano for free? (estimated value = $270,034)

Consider the Cost:

Financial--Receiving a car for free, that regularly costs about three houses, does not mean you've gotten off cheap. I checked a "ball park quote" on an insurance website. To secure this particular Ferrari into their "good hands" would cost $4200 a year...for the most basic coverage possible. That was including no other driver and no other vehicle. (Conversely, Charity and I combined with both our cars on the ball park estimate came out to $740/year.) That's about $3500 that my family would be paying out just for insurance! (And let's be honest, driving in a car with a 3.97 zero-60 time probably means I'd be facing some tickets...thus higher insurance rates) I also calculated the cost of gas increase (my truck has a higher mpg). If I only drove about 8,000 miles/year, I'd be paying about $400 extra just in gasoline.

Relational--Though the whir of the the V-12 is pure music, it could be difficult to hold a conversation. There are no back seats (meaning 2 of our family of 6 can be in the car at once) and I doubt the seats are conducive for car seats. We usually travel as a family in our van, and I use the truck to travel alone or take one (or maybe two) kids somewhere, so it wouldn't change too much. However, my favorite "full family" trip in my truck every year is our family of six heading to Sickels Tree Farm and bringing home a Christmas Tree...something I don't see the family doing in a Fiorano.

Spiritual--This should be the first thought, and the more I think, the more I can see a free Ferrari would exact a great cost. I already mentioned the temptation to break the law in such a car. Deuteronomy 6 is probably harder to fulfill when I'm forced to travel alone, or at least in silence. And though it would be susceptible to moth and rust, it would be a temptation to make it my treasure.
Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us,--Ephesians 3:20
God certainly is gracious (understatement of the year). He has given us His Son to be the Savior of the World (which, Scripture reminds, He did before we asked.)! He has also given us everything we need for life and godliness!

And sometimes, He pours out His grace to us by not giving us what we want. He would not be His grace to give me anything I have asked for. We should praise God for His grace, when He does not give us that which would tempt us to stray from Him.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yeah, but it really looks cool in the picture...let's pilot/ferrari...His provision/my wants...stop making this gospel thing so personal and practical. you just may get me out of my box. it's so comfy in here the walls are so close and warm. i can see my boundaries and everything from where i sit without having to move. if i keep the lid closed i don't even know anyone else is around! keep up the illustrations. we love them.