The year was nineteen seventy something and I was about to enter my senior year of high school. I had been working a side-job taking care of an elderly man who had multiple sclerosis (MS) and was deteriorating in his physical health. Mentally, he was a sharper than any tack that I had ever seen!
My job started off pretty simple: I would go over to his apartment (which was only a block away) and help him into his wheelchair in the morning; sometimes helping him get his socks on.
As his MS got worse, I would also go over to his apartment in the evening to help him out of his wheelchair and into his bed.
In time, he needed more help as the tremors would sometime make simple tasks very difficult for him, like preparing breakfast or pulling up his pants.
We had looked at several assisted living facilities, but none would meet his or our approval. Again, this was the seventies, and most of the facilities we looked at smelled like urine all the way out to the parking lot.
No way could we let him live there.
He was a very smart man who had a very prestigious career and had made a good income, so money wasn’t really an issue. His wife was deceased, and he had no children.
The solution that he came up with was to hire in-home nursing to give him further assistance. He also purchased a lift to assist getting him in and out of bed and another for the tub.
He also had another idea; he wanted to buy me a car so that I could drive him places.
I want to say that he was really a great guy and I enjoyed spending time with him. He loved reading books in order to stay a step ahead on new technology and the latest trends.
As I said, his mind was sharp as his body was falling apart. He joked with me that his mind would still be working for several days after he was buried in the ground.
Did I mention that he wanted to buy me a new car?
I really had no reason to respond the way I did when he purchased a brand new car and gave it to me. The plan was that it would be mine to use as much as I wanted and it was mine to keep after he died.
The problem? It was an AMC Pacer! No teenager wanted to drive, let alone be seen in a Pacer! Remember, this was sixteen years BEFORE the movie “Wayne’s world” came out and made it ‘popular’.
And, no, it didn’t come with a factory issued licorice dispenser. That was an aftermarket item that you couldn’t get until 1992!
My oldest brother had a Dodge Challenger at the time which further added to my reluctance to drive the car. His was cool, mine was lame!
The man told me that he had done research in Consumer’s Report and said that this was one of the best values in the market today. He also liked that it would be easy to load and unload his wheelchair in the back. And he loved that he could see out the windows.
That last statement didn’t help at all; if he could see out, then others could see in!
I should also mention that my next older brother had a Camaro with a spoiler on the rear. My next youngest brother had a Nova!
There is no way that I would be seen in a AMC Pacer.
So I made excuses not to drive it.
Yes, I turned down his generous gift to me. I NEVER even drove it! And I starting spending less and less time with him in order to NOT drive the car…I wanted the provision; just not in that way.
In a very short time, his body failed to the point where he was placed in a nursing home. He died within the month. I didn’t know what happened to the car; and didn’t really care at the time where it ended up.
I had been an ungrateful and proud teenager who, although I needed a car, choose to let pride stop me from receiving a gift from a generous person who wanted to show his appreciation for me.
I also missed out on my opportunity to spend time with this great man.
I missed it by allowing my pompous pride get in the way.
As I write this I have several thoughts.
First of all, it reminds me of Naaman in the Bible. He was a great and honorable man and the commander of the army of the king of Syria. He was also a mighty man of valor, but he was also a leper. (Read the story in 2 Kings Chapter 5).
Naaman had a chance to get healed of his leprosy, but he didn’t like how it was to be done.
Naaman was told that if he wanted to be healed; “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored to you, and you shall be clean.”
Naaman said, “NO!” In fact he became furious at the preposterous suggestion. He wanted the provision; just not in that way.
Fortunately, he gave in, did what he was told to do, and received a complete healing.
My other thought is wondering how many times have you and I missed provision simply because we were too pompous to receive? How many times did it come and go and because pride caused us to stumble and fall short?
Finally, what about provision for that hole in your soul; for that sin in your life? Have allowed pride to stop you from simply receiving the free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ?
Naaman almost missed it by allowing his pompous pride get in the way.
Be careful that you don’t make the same mistake.
“Today when you hear His voice, don’t harden your hearts as Israel did when they rebelled.” (Hebrews 3:15)
“But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, cleanses us from all sin. If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.” (1 John 1:7-10)
“If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved. As the Scriptures tell us, “Anyone who trusts in Him will never be disgraced.” Jew and Gentile are the same in this respect. They have the same Lord, who gives generously to all who call on Him. For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:9-13)
All Scripture is from the New Living Translation (NLT), copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.