How my Jeep teaches humility

by Jason Moore on September 1, 2009

Ah, the Jeep. Specifically a 1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo. At 170,000 miles, running on its original transmission, engine and drive-train, the thing is a beast and probably deserves a spot in the Jeep hall of fame. But any small part, trinket, bearing or vacuum line that can and will break…has and most likely will.

We received this Jeep as a gift from my mother-in-law after Nicole and I married. We sold her Jeep Wrangler, and my 89 Suburban to raise enough funds to get married…so being without a car, her mother gave us her deceased husband’s (nicole’s stepdad) Jeep to drive around. We were told “Don’t worry about it, just drive it till it breaks.” Wow, thanks!

And while the Jeep has safely taken us to Palm Springs, Sedona, Prescott and all around the Phoenix Valley, it definitely likes to throw some surprises in. For example:

– Small crack in windshield, turns into a topographical map of the Mississippi river
– AC condensor leaks
– Input manifold becomes clogged with gunk; Need regular dis-assembly + cleaning
– The interior is shot and peeling.
– The dash light/gauges cannot be read at night
– The serpentine belt shot off and took out the idler pulley
– Brakes have been completely rebuilt, including rotors
– Rear gate and window hydraulics are broken and don’t hold. User operation at it’s best!
– Oil leaks from engine block and so does the seal to the transmission
– AC vacuum lines going

And this is just since we got it! And while I guess I could just “go get something new”, I definitely feel the Lord telling me to wait. I always have the new stuff, the best stuff and usually right when it comes out. To my own detriment and showing a lack & weakness of trust in our Saviour, I too often react emotionally, taking control, with the age-old adage “We can do it”. I come from a family of “we can do it’s”. Instead the Lord tell us to wait on Him, and that He will take care of our needs. Matthew 6:26-34 (rollover over verse to see it…cool huh?) is clear on this.

And yet why do I worry? Because I am inconvenienced? Because what I drive is not as cool as maybe what someone else has? Am I basing my value on what I drive, or the possessions I own? I’m afraid I am. I am guilty or being a bratty, selfish Christian, allowing my view to look away from what Jesus teaches us, to what the world recommends we do. Credit? Cash for clunkers anyone? Great, program, just not for me; not right now.

While the Jeep has always been there when we needed it, it has failed at some inconvenient times, making my flesh crawl and pride get the best of me. But that Jeep is sign, not of my suffering and the “prideful” lowly servant who is stuck with the beat up car. I have no clue what it truly means to really suffer for Christ. I have 15 bibles all sitting, in the open, in my home. I don’t worry about driving to church. I openly speak of Christ at work, without any fear of persecution. But it is a sign of Christ working in me and showing me the vanity of how I have acted at times.

Seeing this, our Jeep is now a sign of our commitment to wait on the Lord and when the time is right, something new will come and take its place. Don’t believe me? When the serpentine belt blew last week, I continued driving it, not knowing really what happened. Lost the power steering, the AC, the water pump and basically power-everything. I drove it an additional 7-10 miles back to work and by the time I stopped, the car was smoking. Not good; But even then when I went to fix it, all that was needed was a new pulley and a new belt. If you know cars, you know this SHOULD have been much worse. And yet the Lord provided.

When Nicole became pregnant (praise you Lord!) it became very clear, very quickly that I needed to sell my 2006 VW GTi for something “more family oriented”. 2 door hatchbacks are not the most kid-friendly. And most cringed when I tell them I sold it, but not me. Done, Lord; You are correct! And we ended up locating a fantastic 2007 Passat wagon, with less miles and it had exactly what we needed. And it all happened with little effort.

And yet we hold onto the Jeep.

Could we get a new car? Yeah, I suppose we could make it work somehow. Hey maybe we cut back out tithes and there’s a car payment right there….NOT. All in all, while I have babbled through this post, what becomes clear to me, is that I am not in control. Jason is not driving starship Jason. The Lord is. And as unruly of a child as I am (Romans 8:14-17), my Father in heaven looks out for me, always providing, forever molding, always changing, eternally teaching. And even in a forest green Jeep with a horrible bondo job, I can still praise my Lord for this (Psalm 30:4)! If He determines that I will cling to Him more by taking away the Jeep entirely, then I say take it, to the praise of His name!

Having this Jeep doesn’t make me more humble than you, because somehow I am willing to drive a worn out vehicle. In fact it really doesn’t have anything to do with you. What I have come to see in this Jeep is a lesson the Lord has prepared for me. I am rowdy, loud and often obnoxious. Like a bull in a china shop. May I so be one for the Lord! In the end, I must continue to decrease, while He increases … The work of sanctification (1 Peter 1:1-3) in a believer’s life.

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