As many of you already know, our Tesla got rear-ended a month ago. Thankfully, insurance covers the entire car rental cost. But what surprised us was that the car rental company gave us was an Audi.
I had never imagined myself driving an Audi, partly because I was never a car guy. But another reason is, it always felt like a “really” luxurious car. The only rich person I knew in Korea during my childhood drove an Audi. Maybe that left a certain impression on me.
So, when I drove the car off the rental, I had mixed emotions. On one hand, it felt nice to drive a nice car, but I also felt uncomfortable driving a nice car as a pastor. I thought, “What if someone sees me getting off (or getting in) the Audi and I don’t get a chance to explain?” I was worried about being misunderstood, and also the religious part of me was adding on to the subtle guilt. But after a few days, I felt the sense of peace for two reasons.
The first is, I felt the need to learn to enjoy good things that God brings our way. They are an expression of his love and affection for his children, and all created things are good if received in thankfulness. (1 Tim 4:4-5) We often hear too much about people who are obsessed with good things that we fail to appreciate good things when it is God who brings them to us.
The second is, I was thankful that I didn’t “need to” have a good car. Certainly, the car is enjoyable, but I was glad I didn’t seek to own this car. I was reminded that the true freedom comes from being able to enjoy good things without having to own them. One of the greatest fallacies we believe in is that we will only be happy if we become owners of good things. There is nothing wrong about ownership, but we don’t truly own anything in this world. Because the moment we depart this world, they become someone else’s possession. We may be owners “on paper”, but we all live as “renters” of someone else’s possession. (whether now or later)
I was reminded again that the surest path to freedom is heeding the words of Jesus: “Seek first the kingdom of God… and all these things will be provided for you.” (Matthew 6:33) According to the context, “all these things” are not spiritual things but what people in the world desperately seek after, even at a great price. Recently, the insurance company told us that the repair will take another month. With a reluctant (?) heart, we will have to drive Audi for one more month.