Simple Living: My Car Emblem

“I know a lot about cars, man. I can look at any car's headlights and tell you exactly which way it's coming.”
–Mitch Hedberg, American stand-up comedian

When people look at the front portion of my 2010 Toyota Corolla, one particular question inevitably gets asked: “What happened to the front emblem?” The front emblem—the classic Toyota symbol—is visibly missing. Most people simply assume it was stolen by some drunk straggler. But that wasn’t the case at all. It’s actually quite a challenge to pry one of those emblems out.

About two years ago, I was driving home from a conference when the driver of the vehicle in front of me rolled down his window and tossed outside what appeared to be his GPS. The object flew right into the front portion of my car and with such force dislodged the poor emblem onto the freeway. There was nothing I could do to save it. I actually didn’t notice the missing logo until I got home. And the emblem has been missing ever since. (My passengers and I were fine, by the way. Had the object collided with the windshield first, it could’ve been a different story.)

I decided not to replace the missing emblem. It’s not that I don’t have the cash to do so. The cost to repair it isn’t very high. But I decided to keep the car the way it is because it serves as a daily reminder of the journey of simplicity that I’ve chosen to embark on. A nice vehicle can often serve as an image and worth booster. In earlier years, I would’ve immediately replaced the missing emblem because I would feel that my image was being tarnished in some way by its absence. My personal value was somehow connected to the car I drove (and I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who thinks this way). But today, I’m hardly concerned about my outward image anymore. I’m far more concerned about kingdom things now—the kind of things that God is concerned about. And since the car functions perfectly fine without the missing emblem and it poses no safety issue, I decided to leave it the way it is as reminder to myself that my image and worth isn’t found in material things. It’s found in my relationship with God and in the kind of stuff that I do for His kingdom.

Do you find that your image and worth is somehow connected to material things? Like the clothes you wear? Or the gadgets you possess? Or the house you own? Or the car you drive? God is clear about where our true worth and value is found. It’s found in Christ alone.