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Sermon Illustrations on Cars

Background

The Car and Suburban Sprawl

Cars have allowed us to spread out our living patterns significantly. Historically, cities have had a natural limit set by how far people could comfortably walk from place to place. Then, with the development of streetcars, settlement spread in conjunction with the streetcar tracks. Slowly, with the onset of the automobile, the limits on sprawl were all but obliterated. As cars freed up drivers to live, work, shop, and play between farther and farther distances, these great distances became a fixed part of the landscape, making the car necessary for full participation in society.

The shift has been subtle, but unmistakable, as we’ve moved from thinking of the car as a convenience to considering it a necessity. This arrangement, at best, grants independence to one particular segment of our population while leaving many out. Youth who are too young to drive are completely dependent upon their parents to get them place to place. There once was a time when a young person could walk to the corner store to get a treat, walk to the local park for baseball practice, and even walk to school. Now many kids need to be driven to each of these settings—putting additional pressure on parents, who must serve as their chauffeurs.

Eric O. Jacobsen, Sidewalks in the Kingdom: New Urbanism and the Christian Faith.

The Frequency Illusion

You decide to buy a certain kind of car, and suddenly you see it everywhere. A friend recommends an obscure movie to you, and by the end of the week, three more people have mentioned it. You find out you’re having a baby and now you’re surrounded by pregnant women in every shopping aisle, church classroom, and train station. It’s not just you, and it is a real thing. So real, in fact, that there are actual names for it. Known as Blue Car syndrome, or the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon, this is when we hear or experience something and suddenly it seems to appear everywhere.

It’s also called frequency illusion, which, of course, implies these things are not, in actuality, happening or appearing more often than normal, but because they have been brought to your attention, your brain notices them more often.

Searching for Certainty: Finding God in the Disruptions of Life, Bethany House Publishers, 2020.              

Stories

A Christmas Surprise

There was a woman who was baking her Christmas cookies and she heard a knock at the door. She opened the door to find a man who was dressed in pretty tattered clothes, and he was obviously poor. And he wondered if the woman had any work for him to do. She asked him, “Well, can you paint?” He said, “I can paint. I’m a pretty good painter.”

She said, “Okay, well, here’s a couple of gallons of green paint, here’s a paint brush, and there’s a porch out back that needs to be painted.” And she said, “If you do a good job, I’ll pay you what your worth.” He said, “Deal! I Love it.”

So he took the paint brush and went out back. She forgot about it until sometime later when there was another knock at the door. It was him. He obviously had been painting because there was paint splattered all over his clothes. He said, “I’m finished.” She said, “Did you do a good job?” “Yes, ma’am. I did a good job, but I need to point something out to you, ma’am. That’s not a Porsche out back, that’s a Mercedes.” That’s what you might call a “Christmas Surprise.”

Original Source Unknown

How Much Fuel is in Your Tank?

I don’t know about you, but I’ve never been very good at paying attention to my car’s fuel tank. I remember in high school I drove an old Jeep Grand Cherokee that had a digital fuel gauge. In 1998 that was quite impressive. It told you exactly how many miles before you ran out of gas, or at least, approximately. 

One day after school I vividly remember exiting the freeway only to notice I had 0, yes 0 miles of gas left in the tank. I began to panic as I waited at a light, praying desperately that I would be able to make it to the closest gas station.

Fortunately, I’ve gotten better at this. I haven’t quite hit “0 miles left” according to our most recent cars. But of course there is a helpful analogy here. If you are like most teenagers, then you are young, you barely think about your energy levels. You barely consider how much is “left in the tank” before committing to some new adventure.

As we get older, and our stores of said energy become less pronounced, we ought to become more aware, not just of our energy levels, but what sorts of things give us energy and what drains us of energy. As an extrovert, being with people energizes me, whereas for my introverted wife, it does the opposite. So how much is in your proverbial “tank?” And how do you “fill up” before running out of fuel altogether?

Stuart Strachan Jr.

Analogies

How Much Fuel is in Your Tank?

I don’t know about you, but I’ve never been very good at paying attention to my car’s fuel tank. I remember in high school I drove an old Jeep Grand Cherokee that had a digital fuel gauge. In 1998 that was quite impressive. It told you exactly how many miles before you ran out of gas, or at least, approximately. 

One day after school I vividly remember exiting the freeway only to notice I had 0, yes 0 miles of gas left in the tank. I began to panic as I waited at a light, praying desperately that I would be able to make it to the closest gas station.

Fortunately, I’ve gotten better at this. I haven’t quite hit “0 miles left” according to our most recent cars. But of course there is a helpful analogy here. If you are like most teenagers, then you are young, you barely think about your energy levels. You barely consider how much is “left in the tank” before committing to some new adventure.

As we get older, and our stores of said energy become less pronounced, we ought to become more aware, not just of our energy levels, but what sorts of things give us energy and what drains us of energy. As an extrovert, being with people energizes me, whereas for my introverted wife, it does the opposite. So how much is in your proverbial “tank?” And how do you “fill up” before running out of fuel altogether?

Stuart Strachan Jr.

Humor

A Christmas Surprise

There was a woman who was baking her Christmas cookies and she heard a knock at the door. She opened the door to find a man who was dressed in pretty tattered clothes, and he was obviously poor. And he wondered if the woman had any work for him to do. She asked him, “Well, can you paint?” He said, “I can paint. I’m a pretty good painter.”

She said, “Okay, well, here’s a couple of gallons of green paint, here’s a paint brush, and there’s a porch out back that needs to be painted.” And she said, “If you do a good job, I’ll pay you what your worth.” He said, “Deal! I Love it.”

So he took the paint brush and went out back. She forgot about it until sometime later when there was another knock at the door. It was him. He obviously had been painting because there was paint splattered all over his clothes. He said, “I’m finished.” She said, “Did you do a good job?” “Yes, ma’am. I did a good job, but I need to point something out to you, ma’am. That’s not a Porsche out back, that’s a Mercedes.” That’s what you might call a “Christmas Surprise.”

Original Source Unknown

More Resources

Related Themes

Click a topic below to explore more sermon illustrations! 

Creation Care

Driving

Possessions

& Many More