E-pistle July 10

Emotionally Connected to a Honda
I bought a new car in March.  In April I started receiving various owner-satisfaction surveys.  They tell you that you might win $20,000 just for completing their survey, so I have been diligent about doing so.  I haven’t received my $20,000 yet, but I will let you know when I do. 
Most of the surveys ask about the reliability of the car or my experience with the dealer and would I recommend the car and the dealer to friends and neighbors.  The most recent questionnaire was no exception when it came to asking about the finish and fit of the car. But then it began to get personal.  I had to rank on a 1-5 scale from strongly agree to strongly disagree each of several statements.  Among them:

·         Self-esteem I feel good about owning and driving my new vehicle
·         Prestige – my vehicle makes a statement
·         Success my vehicle reflects my hard work
·         I want to look good when driving my vehicle
·         I want a vehicle that says a lot about my success

I don’t remember exactly how I answered, though I do think I look pretty good in my little Honda Civic. Then, though the surveyors probably didn’t know so, it got theological when it asked for my agreement or disagreement with statement:

·         I see life as full of endless possibilities

I had to pick a number between one and five.  They didn’t let me quote Luke 18:27.
Finally, there was this question:
How do you feel about your new vehicle?

·         I feel a definite emotional connection to my new vehicle
·         I feel some emotional connection to my new vehicle
·         I feel no emotional connection to my new vehicle

Part of me wanted to make it very clear that I feel no emotional connection whatsoever to my car.  Emotionally connected to a mass of steel, plastic, rubber and vinyl?  I don’t think so.  Well, actually, kind of.  Come to think of it, yes, I feel an emotional connection to my car.  I’d feel bad if it got scratched or damaged and maybe I do like the statement my car makes.  I’m an American male; I’m emotionally connected to my car.  And if that doesn’t connect with you, fill in the blank; you’re emotionally connected to your favorite blue dress or a delicious chocolate dessert, a sports team or a vacation spot. 
I’m pretty sure that there is nothing wrong with an emotional connection with such things, so long as it is the variety of connection that means you feel bad about a parking lot ding or when the dress is no longer in fashion, you feel sad when your diet puts that dessert off limits, the home team loses or you can’t squeeze a vacation out of this year’s budget. 
In fact, Jesus knew we’d connect with the things of the world.  Speaking of our anxiety about food and clothing, he said, “Your heavenly Father knows you need these things.” It’s not so much that he wants us to cut our emotional connections with the things of the world (since that’s the way the survey put it), as that he wants us to put first things first.  “Seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness,” he taught us. 
So can you drive a new Honda, and still serve Jesus?  Can you root for the Phillies and still love his Kingdom? Can you go window shopping for a new blue dress and be faithful to God’s claim on your life?  Yes.  But be careful.  “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Jesus knows us well. 

Maybe my new Honda is a reflection of my hard work.  I don't know.  I do know that my salvation is a reflection of God’s grace and love. Try as you might, you can’t get up yonder in a Honda.