DMINLGP

DMin, Leadership and Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

One Person. One Car. One Thing.

Written by: on February 13, 2015

This year will mark 70 years from the liberation of Auschwitz. In order to commemorate this important event I organized a showing of the 1993 Academy Award winning movie Schindler’s List at my church. For those of you who don’t know the movie, it tells the story of Oskar Schindler, a German industrialist who was credited for saving the lives of over one thousand Jews. The powerful thing about this movie is that it shows just how much of a difference one person can make. At the end of the movie, there is this incredible scene where Schindler looks at his car and says, “This car. Goeth would have bought this car. Why did I keep the car? Ten people right there. Ten people. Ten more people.” [1] The regret one feels for not doing enough doesn’t compare with the regret one would have for not doing anything at all. I think the important thing is to just do something because for that one person it could make a world of difference.

In 2012 the bank gave me money to buy a brand new car. I bought a brand new Hyundai Tucson. I loved that car! It was so beautiful!! I loved everything about it. Late last year I preached a sermon and challenged my congregation with this question, “Is your lifestyle a good representation of what you claim to believe about God?” As I was preaching, all I could think about was my car. I loved it so much, but it didn’t fit with what I believe that God requires of us as his followers. This car did not represent my faith… so I traded it in for a much smaller, better for creation Hyundai. It was soo hard! And, I really miss my Tucson, but by making this decision I felt like I was living in line with my conviction. I know that one car doesn’t make a world of difference, but it makes a difference in my life and in my faith.

Reading through Active Hope this week I was reminded and encouraged again that each person matters. Every decision we make matters. Active hope is about taking small and intentional steps towards living with integrity and living in such a way that you put first things first. It’s about making changes where you are. It’s about choosing to live with your eyes open and doing your part as small as it might be.

This is the most important thing that I take away from this book…. “The path of seeking material wealth beyond our basic needs sets us against one another. The greater a nation’s appetite for resources, the more likely it is that it will go to war, and the more likely it is to tear up forests for open strip mines or to drill for oil deep below the ocean floor, wrecking marine habitats. The second type of wealth is what we see with new eyes. It is the community we find in mutual belonging.” (134)

It’s good to have your basic needs met. It’s important to have the things that you need, but the moment you go beyond that you risk the relationship that you have with yourself, with your neighbor, with creation, and ultimately it jeopardizes your relationship with God.

The hardest thing is to determine what our basic needs are. The authors say, “Our views about what’s normal and necessary are shaped by what we see.” (15) Our views are often shaped by commercials that tell us what we need and what would fix our lives. Consumerism pushes us towards dissatisfaction and a constant longing for more. We’re lonely when people surround us. We want more things while surrounded by things. I wonder how our lives would change if we actually acknowledged that for many of us living in the West, our basic needs are already met.

[1] http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0108052/quotes

About the Author

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Stefania Tarasut

7 responses to “One Person. One Car. One Thing.”

  1. Stefania…
    Thank you for the reminder and the example. This book was both challenging and refreshing. You wrote, “It’s important to have the things that you need, but the moment you go beyond that you risk the relationship that you have with yourself, with your neighbor, with creation, and ultimately it jeopardizes your relationship with God.” So as you then related it’s hard to know what we need. I am learning too slowly that I want comfort more than I want discomfort, that when I am stressed or under pressure I want to “veg.” And that God is persistently changing my perspective on just about everything.

    What practices or factors (p 215) are bringing you life? Encouraging your sustainability to live out your hopes?

    And thank you for your insights and for your walk.

  2. Stefania
    I to tremendously love the movie Schindler’s list. That last scene regarding the car is one of my favorites. It really puts things into perspective. To think of the stuff that we accumulate representing souls that we could have bought from the grasp of hell is a chilling thought indeed.
    So often we are admonished to not live for ourselves but rather to live for God and give ourselves to the same causes that He would have us live towards. Though there are outward voices and forces that would desire for us to be conformed to this world we are admonished to be transformed by the renewing of our mind. The scripture that I often return to is 2 Corinthians 5:14&15 14 “For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died;
    15 and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.” How would the world be different if believers truly followed this passage and lived their life accordingly?

  3. mm John Woodward says:

    Stefania, I have not seen “Schindler’s List” – I have visited three concentration camps over the years and found them disturbing enough that I don’t like watching movies about those places. That’s just me!

    But, a appreciate your desire to live a life consistent with your faith. I am curious though about how that particular sermon (that led to your giving up your nice car) go over? From a culture that you live in as well as the culture you work with, is this a message that is well received? I appreciate some of the posts (like Miriam’s) that talked about the importance of working together — that one finds it is hard to be hopeful and live out such radical (but godly) lifestyles alone…without a community for support. Are you doing your own thing, or do you have others who are walking that same path?

    As always, a wonderful post, Stefania.

  4. Stefania,

    This is a powerful post. I so appreciate it.

    It is nice to meet someone who does something rather than just talk about it. You car story was just that; it was your living out your convictions, rather than just talking about them. This was inspiring to me. So what about me? Your post gave me a lot to think about.

  5. Liz Linssen says:

    Hi Stefania
    I love how you shared your experience of swapping your car. It must have been hard to give up that Tucson! I like too how you stick to Korean cars 🙂
    Like you, I believe it’s important to choose wisely what car we drive. It’s so easy to spend many $1000s of dollars on a vehicle where we could spend much of that money on helping others. My current car is about 15 years old, but I love it. It’s very reliable and practical, and I’m grateful to God for it. 🙂 Thanks again for sharing Stefania! 🙂

  6. mm Ashley Goad says:

    Now I feel bad about driving you around in my Xterra all week! My sweet, gas-thirsty SUV…that if you turn the radio up loud enough, the squeak goes away!

    Loved these sentences in your blog, “Every decision we make matters. Active hope is about taking small and intentional steps towards living with integrity and living in such a way that you put first things first. It’s about making changes where you are. It’s about choosing to live with your eyes open and doing your part as small as it might be.”

    Making good life choices, being intentional, these are the cornerstones of living with integrity and…active hope. You matter so much, Stefania. I am so thankful for you.

  7. Michael Badriaki says:

    Stefania, your post shows us how “active hope” is done. Trading in the car you loved is an expression of hope in something greater the material . You followed your convictions, the experience impacted you and it is still an encouragement to many today.

    Thank you for sharing!

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