We have one too. It’s twenty years old, usually wears a coat of dust, and sports a bed with scrapes, dings, and lines of orange rust. It has hauled wood for our heat and leaves and pine straw for mulch. It has carried loads of dirt to landscape the natural rises and dips of our property. It has toted lawn mowers and tillers to the shop for repair. It has gone on several dozen camping trips, filled to the brim of its topper with tents, sleeping bags, coolers, suitcases, firewood, and food.
Whenever we go to town, it always amuses me to see a man in a tie get out of a pickup truck, especially if that truck is clean, polished, and less than two years old. I asked such a man once why he needed his pickup. “To drive,” he said. What? Isn’t that what far more economical cars are for? He actually took better care of his truck than his car, polishing it to a high enough sheen to blind the driver in the next lane, and vacuuming it almost daily. Obviously, his pickup was for show. “A man ought to have a truck after all.” Why? Because it makes him a man?
Before you shake your head, consider that this happens with many more things than pickup trucks. Why do you have the type of car you do? Not a car, but that particular one. I know some people who think the brand is the important part, that somehow it says something special about them. Why do you live where you do in the type of house that you have? Is it a big house because you have a big family, because you use it to house brethren passing through who need help, because you show hospitality on a regular basis? Or is it because someone of your status ought to have a house that size in that neighborhood?
I suppose the saddest thing I have seen is women who have children because “that’s what women do.” Their careers or busy schedules or social standing is far more important than the child, who is raised by someone else entirely, with mommy making “quality time” whenever she can spare a moment or two.
The Israelites of the Old Testament had similar problems. They wanted a king “like the countries round about them.” Somehow they thought it made them a legitimate nation. Do we do similar things in the church?
Why do we have a preacher? I have heard people say we need one to look valid to the denominations around us. Why do we have a building? “Because that would make us a real church.” Neither of those things is wrong to have, but our attitudes show us to be less than spiritual, not to mention less than knowledgeable, when we say such things.
Why do you have elders? “Because a church this size ought to.” That may very well be, but you don’t fix the problem of a church that hasn’t grown enough spiritually to have qualified men by choosing men who are anything but just so you can say you have elders.
A lot of us are just silly boys who think that having a pickup truck makes them real men. Let’s get to the root of the problem. What makes you a Christian, what makes a church faithful, is a whole lot like what makes you a man, and outward tokens have nothing to do with it.
"As for you, son of man, your people who talk together about you by the walls and at the doors of the houses, say to one another, each to his brother, 'Come, and hear what the word is that comes from the LORD.' And they come to you as people come, and they sit before you as my people, and they hear what you say but they will not do it; for with lustful talk in their mouths they act; their heart is set on their gain. And behold, you are to them like one who sings lustful songs with a beautiful voice and plays well on an instrument, for they hear what you say, but they will not do it. When this comes--and come it will!--then they will know that a prophet has been among them." Ezekiel 33:30-33