During my recent trip to South Carolina I did something I could have never done before. I made the trip there and back on two tanks of gas (shout out Toyota!!!). That’s 976 miles from my door to the hospital and back… plus all of the running around for the better part of a week… plus the fact that coming home I did not take a route that could even remotely be described as “direct”. And when I got back I still had about a fourth of a tank of gas in the car. I’ve never had vehicles known for their fuel economy, so this was special. Even so, I did find one moment of frustration. On the solitary occasion that I had to get gas I paid $2.29 a gallon. What an outrage! Back at home I was paying $1.94 by using my Mapco discount card. And to make matters worse, there seemed to be no Mapcos in South Carolina, so I didn’t even get the extra 3˘ discount!! It seemed to be quite literally Highway Robbery!!!
After getting back on the road I attempted to ease my troubled spirit by thinking of how much more the trip would have cost in the Land Rover (12 mpg vs. 31), and then my mind wondered back to what gas would have cost a year ago. I don’t remember the exact price here in Clarksville, so I looked it up with AAA and found that the national average price per gallon in February, 2014 was $3.45 (and we know it has been much higher). Since we tend to stay a little below the national average, I settled on $3.35 as the price I would have paid at this time last year. So now I feel good again, because instead of wasting 30˘ a gallon, I saved $1.16 (and I gained a little insight on how a woman’s mind works when she goes shopping to “save money”!!!). But far more seriously, I gained greater understanding on how a Christian’s mind should work as he considers his state in this world.
Paul wrote, “…I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content” (Philippians 4:11). He never said he “liked” every situation he was in, or that he was “happy” about every situation he was in. Rather he simply said he had learned to be “content” in every situation he was in. You’ll likely recall that it was also Paul who declared that “godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Timothy 6:6). So as I thought on these things, I put two lists together; one of the good things about my trip and the other of the bad things about my trip. I’d like to share them with you:
Top-10 Good Things About
My Trip To South Carolina
1 - My brother wasn’t dead (I honestly expected that if he wasn’t we would be taking him off of life-support).
2 - I was reminded of how great the support from my family and friends is.
3 - I got to meet some really great people.
4 - I got to see some beautiful scenery.
5 - I enjoyed the drive and made it safely.
6a - I was staying down the road from Piggie Park Barbeque.
6b - It turns out that Piggie Park Barbeque has several locations in and around Columbia.
6c - Piggie Park Barbeque has enough variety on the menu that you can eat there all week (I’d recommend the 1/3 pound hamburger and homemade banana pudding).
7 - I got to enjoy some of the benefits of AARP membership.
8 - I earned over 3,000 bonus points toward future motel stays on my Wyndham Rewards VISA card.
9 - I learned that I can still stay up all night if I have to.
10 - I made it home in time to enjoy the snow.
All Of The Bad Things About My Trip To South Carolina
1 - Gas was $2.29 a gallon.
I probably still have a ways to go, but I really think I may be learning that “in whatever situation I am to be content”.
When I was in school at Freed-Hardeman College, one of the catch-phrases we often heard was that their goal is to assist families in “teaching how to live, and how to make a living”. At the time I did not have the appreciation of that idea that I do now. Being older with children and grandchildren makes such an amazing difference!
I like that the college (now university) saw their role as being that of helping families. They knew they were not meant to take on the full load. The same is true of the church. Our place is to help families raise their children. Not to do it for them. But sadly, even in Christian homes, we see a serious struggle.
We tend to do well at teaching how to make a living. We send our children to school an average of 7-hours a day for 13-years. Then we see to it that their homework is done and drill them as they prepare for tests. But teaching them how to live is another matter. At best, our children are in church 4-hours a week. A few get the bonus time of VBS and gospel meetings. But even then they routinely show up unprepared, having not so much as “cracked a book” since class a week ago. When Christian homes teach how to make a living ahead of teaching how to live we answer our Lord’s question: “what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26). And the answer isn’t good.