But how are men to call upon him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in Him of whom they have never heard? – Romans 10:14
My first car was a two-door 1951 Plymouth. When Dad and I drove out to look at it, we were surprised to find a rusty, gray, tank-looking auto with two flat tires, numerous dents and white, brush-painted skull and crossbones sloppily drawn on both the hood and the trunk. Dad’s mature wisdom and experience with old clunkers led him to drive right on by it without even stopping. With a lot of pleading, I convinced him to at least drive by again slowly. On the third pass, I got him to stop for a close-up look.
We walked up to the car from two different places. I walked to it with a vision of my own future personal vehicle, and saw it as it could become – freshly painted with new tires, seat covers, floor mats, and, of course, a radio with four stereo speakers. Dad approached it as it was, with a vision of a lot of work and even more money. Besides, he knew too well on whose work and money the vision depended. Naturally, I promised to buy all the parts, do all the work and pay for all the gas, insurance and expenses. I was even going to pay all of the $125 they were asking as a sales price.
For the next four days I worked on my “Limo” (Dad kept calling it a Lemon). I worked from sun up to sun down and then got out the lights and worked into the night. I patched, pumped and painted those old, bald tires; took out the seats for covering; patched the rusted holes in the floorboard with flattened tin cans; ripped out the rotten, hanging headliner; and then started on the outside rust with old sandpaper I found in the garage. With two long days of sanding, the once gray-rust car began to change colors. The constant grinding of sandpaper in numerous wide, straight swipes was even slowly melting away the skull and cross-bones. At one point I was standing on the front bumper (with toes sticking in the large hole where the grill would have been if it had one) and scrub-sanding the front hood. I was startled to look up and see Dad standing, watching, slowly shaking his head in a way that I knew meant trouble. Knowing I didn’t really want to know, I hesitantly asked, “What’s wrong, Dad?” Having been told, it then took both of us three days to re-sand the car with the right, fine sandpaper and without using the straight, back and forth motions which would later have shown through the paint.
The lesson I learned was so simple and yet so relevant to so many areas of my life: You can’t do what you don’t know. With just five days of sanding, I learned a lesson that I’ve since applied to children’s swings sets, lawnmower maintenance, schoolwork, business investments, and even Christian growth. I share it with you now as a lesson of faith: You can’t do what you don’t know. I truly hope that you will remember this lesson without the five days of sanding to inscribe it in your memory and will apply it to your learning about the Christian faith.
Prayer: Dear God, lead me to learn more about you through the reading of your Holy Word in the Bible and through listening to those who tell me of your Good News. Amen.