The Car in the Cellar

Bill Brinkworth

“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” Mark 8:36

Years ago a group of friends met in the basement of their city home. A crazy idea popped up in conversation during a friendly game of billiards. “Wouldn’t it be funny,” one may have suggested, “if we could build a Model-T, right here in the basement?” Soon the group of mechanics was chuckling at the idea. They all offered to pitch in. Everyone volunteered to help bring the pieces of the automobile, one by one, through the only entrance, the up-stairs doorway and down into the cellar.

The joke and dare became a real project. Just as promised, each man brought a piece of the car down the steps and into the cellar. As more pieces arrived, the assembly progressed. After a long period, the car was completely assembled: fenders, tires, engine, interior, and every other part. The professional mechanics even got it running. What a neighborhood joke the car in the basement must have been.

Time passed. One by one, the weekly meeting lost another of its members. The original builders even forgot about their project. Soon, even the house was sold. The new owners chuckled at what was downstairs, but soon the novelty of the car was forgotten.

Many years later, as I recall the story, the house was condemned. After the residence was destroyed, the old Ford was rolled away and sold. The house was gone and all the people, but still the “treasure” remained.

What a similarity that Model-T is to what happens to many lives. Little things, that really have no importance, become far too paramount in lives. Many lives have been wasted, marriages destroyed, and families split-up because priority was given to hobbies, friends, jobs, and “things.” Once their life is over, the possessions will be still standing, but what was important was destroyed, or never given the priority and time it deserved.

Vast numbers of people have died with quite an impressive number of “things,” but spiritually they were destitute. They had all this world offered them, but died and went to hell because their eternal destination never was a priority. No one can take the things of this world with them when they die.

“Things” are not that important. They do give temporary enjoyment, but that joy is not permanent. Relationships with people are far more important. Our children, family, and friends should be given higher value than temporal things. What are we to profit if we have big cars and houses, but our children have had to raise themselves and have ruined their lives? How are we rich, when we have large bank accounts; but our family does not talk to us anymore? What joy will that fancy car, that you sacrificed to have, bring you when you have no one to share it with? When our life is over, our “things” will still remain; but will the influence we had on others be remembered? Will our life have made a difference?

When the “house” of our world perishes, is what remains that important? On deathbeds, the shiny frills of this world are hardly ever mentioned. It is the assurance of Heaven and regrets for poor relationships that usually are the primary concerns. Do not wait until death is eminent to make your priorities right!

Do not love things and use people, rather, love people and use things.

This article was featured in The Bible View #103.

Also at

  The Fundamental Top 500