Phil Cox

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The Parable of the Sports Car Enthusiast

16th August 2008

What is the Kingdom of God like? Or what can I compare it to?

Sometimes, Jesus introduced one of His wonderful parables by asking these rhetorical questions:

Luke 13v18-21
Then Jesus asked, "What is the kingdom of God like? What shall I compare it to? It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air perched in its branches."
Again he asked, "What shall I compare the kingdom of God to? It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into a large amount of flour until it worked all through the dough."

I hope it’s OK for us to write parables about the Kingdom of God, even though we’re not the King. In fact I know it is. It’s just that some people might get a bit “religious” about the word “parable”.

Here’s a parable of my own. What should I compare the Kingdom of God to?

The Kingdom of God is like a man who loved sports cars. He already owned several cars but, one day, he saw an old, classic sports car in a scrap dealer’s yard. The car was in a terrible condition. The engine wouldn’t start. There was rust in the bodywork. The seats were torn. In fact, nothing in the car was the way it was when it was first built. But he wanted that car. He’d never owned a car quite like it, and he decided to renovate it.

It was a big job. The car needed a lot of work. The engine needed to be replaced, the rust needed to be treated, the dents in the bodywork needed to be beaten out, a new coat of paint was obviously going to be necessary, and many other components needed to be cleaned, fixed or replaced. It took years.

Sometimes the car seemed to be in an even worse condition than when he started. When he had to remove a large panel from the side, for example, the car looked like it was beyond repair. But the man knew what he was doing.

And sometimes, after he had been mending, or replacing, or painting, or polishing a part of the car, that part looked really great. What an onlooker would have thought about the car would depend on which part of the car he was looking at.

Eventually, the car took shape. It looked like a viable sports car again. One day, he turned the ignition key and the car started. And it moved. The wheels were working, the gearbox was working, the engine was working, the steering wheel was working. Everything was working.

But the man wasn’t satisfied. He carried on restoring that car until it was as good as it had been in the showroom before it was bought.

And he still wasn’t satisfied, because even in the showroom, it hadn’t been quite what the original designer had wanted. Some of the manufacturing process had been done imperfectly. The man carried on working on that car until it was EXACTLY was the original designer had intended.

He made the the car perfect.

Why did the man take such care over this broken down old car? Because he WAS the original designer.

And that’s God’s desire for every one of us. He finds us broken down and dysfunctional. And He wants to restore us. He wants to do much more than forgive us our sins and save us into His kingdom. He wants to make us as good as new. He wants to make us better than new; He wants to make us EXACTLY what He designed us to be.

Some people think that God wants to turn them into someone else. He doesn’t. He wants to enable you to be 100% you. The way He designed you to be.