Thursday, May 12, 2011

Theological Thursday: The Joy of the Red Truck

Homework done-check!
Take out the trash-check!
Feed the cats and dog-check!

Chores and homework done I run to the garage and grab that great and wonderful joy known as a basketball. We have a very crude basketball goal out in the front of our house--the backboard is plastic and has a section that is broken off one side. The net is gone, so there is no such thing as the all glorious nothing-but-net shot. The cement slab we use as a court is slanted downward, so that the goal is only the right height if you are shooting from straight forward--but none of this matters.

My lanky fourth grade body moves less than elegantly, but as far as I knew I was Dale Davis, Hakeem Olajuwon, Reggie Miller--the pantheon of my childhood. The Pacers were against the evil Jordan led Bulls, and there was no way the Bulls could put this Pacer team of one away! I played with heart and soul; I played with the reckless abandon that only a childlike imagination could allow.

Then in the distance I would hear the deep, powerful hum of a truck engine, and I stopped. I look down the road to see if this truck is visible yet--not yet, but I can hear the engine growing loader, stronger. The Bulls and the Pacers have vanished from my mind, only one thing matters, that truck. All my hope, all my longing and desire is wrapped up in this truck.

I see the sun reflecting from the windshield and I know the moment of truth is drawing near, any second I will know whether it is time or not. My mind races with a selfish and selfless prayer of desire--please let it be red, please let it be red...

My dad drove an old beat up red Chevy truck. Nothing about this truck was nice, in fact, most of it was falling apart. Brakes that kinda worked, muffler that was kinda still attached. It was a farm truck, pure and simple. So many of my days were consumed with playing basketball after school, pausing every time I heard the sound of a truck coming; I wanted it to be my dad. I loved when my dad came home. I found joy in the presence of my dad. My dad gave me joy that no imaginary Miller or Jordan could ever give, not even the real one could give!

When we worship, do we anticipate God coming? Do we anticipate him showing up? Do we long for the sound of his presence, yearn for the time when we know that he is there? Do we find joy when he shows up? Do we desire joy in our worship? Not the joy that comes from great music, fellowship, speaking or anything else, but the joy we get from being in the presence of our Father? I know, worship isn't about us, its about honoring Him. But let me ask this: is it more honoring to God to joyfully desire his presence in our lives, or to dutifully say things about him that bring no excitement to our lives?

The crackle of the gravel under the tires as the red truck pulls into the drive. Dad is home--exhausted to be sure--but home. Here. With me. He steps from the red truck, and walks toward the house. Slowly. Wearily. I stand in silent admiration and fear--not even sure what to do. He is almost passed me, heading straight for the door...

...and he steals the ball from me and goes in for a layup, victory dance following! Smiles crack our faces, and the game begins--not the Pacers/Bulls--just me and dad. I am full for he is here, and he makes clear there is no other place he wants to be.

"Now as they were traveling along. He entered a certain village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. And she had a sister called Mary, who moreover was listening to the Lord's word, seated at His feet. But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him, and said, "Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me." But the Lord answered and said to her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things, but only a few things are necessary, really only one, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her."


  1. I loved that truck. The only problem was that Dad would park it on the court!! Can you believe him? :)

    I find this Lukan passage very interesting. Juxtaposing it with the previous teaching (the good Samaritan, it raises an important quesiton: In the good Samaritan, Jesus emphasizes the importance of loving your neigbor; here, however, Jesus SEEMS to rebuke/correct/ Martha for caring for Jesus (i.e. loving her neigbor).

    It raises a lot of issues, and as usual, I haven't figured them out yet.

    God bless bro,


  2. Perhaps just a question: Can we really expect to meet the needs of the one who meets our needs? Definetly a tension in the text, but the tension is part of the joy of Scripture!

  3. The tension is definitely enjoyable--most of the time.

    "the one who meets our needs"--Is Jesus our "lover" now? :)