I walked from the car rental counter out to the parking lot, looking for my car in the space with the same number as my paperwork. There it was. A beige Corolla. To its left was a slightly less beige Corolla; to the right was a slightly more beige Corolla. I opened the trunk to put my garment bag inside and heard a voice from behind, right at my shoulder.
“Do you want the red Corvette or the silver one?”
I turned around and saw a rental car employee. He reached into the trunk and pulled out my garment bag.
“The red …?” I said as I followed him. He did have my garment bag, after all.
“I’ve got two Corvettes on the lot and I don’t want to keep them here over the weekend. Do you want the red one or the silver one?” He pointed to the two cars sitting side by side.
“Same price as the Corolla?”
He showed me how to retract the roof, where the luggage would fit behind the seat, and sent me on my way.
So I went on my way.
In a red Corvette.
The flight from Northern California landed me seventy miles from the conference hotel. I’d always rented nondescript subcompacts to drive from the small airport to the conference every year up to then. A nondescript car is a mismatch to the extraordinary desert scenery along Interstate 10 east of Los Angeles.
This time I had a car to match the road.
Did I open it up to see what it could do? No. Landing oneself in the hoosegow on the way to a judicial conference is considered bad form.
The conference lasted four days. In the evenings, after spending all day in windowless conference rooms, I’d get in the car, put the top down, and drive through the desert drinking in the scenery and the desert fragrance.
I never did that in a subcompact car.
Driving a beige subcompact or a red convertible analogizes well to life. Ordinary or extraordinary – the choice God offers is clear.
I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10.)
Too often I choose the nondescript subcompact way of life and it takes someone coming along and grabbing my luggage, leading me to the red convertible sports car, and putting the keys in my hand to make me realize there is a better drive at hand. That someone might be a friend, or a writer, or a singer, but I am convinced they are all sent by the One who is the true Author of Life. (Acts 3:11-16.)
This is the extraordinary life Jesus promised:
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. (Acts 1:8.)
And this is the extraordinary life Paul spoke of:
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13.)
So trust God: jump in, start the engine, and drive. You’re in for an extraordinary ride.
And unlike that red Corvette, you don’t have to hand the keys back at the end of the weekend.