John and Jane, A Modern Parable

carA young man named John needed a good family car to take his young wife Jane and their three children on a long journey.

With his dear wife at his side he searched every car lot in their town and while they did find some attractive vehicles something always seemed missing. Either they lacked the features he and his wife were hoping for or the car seemed too small to accommodate their precious little ones.

As they walked home tired and frustrated from a long day of car shopping, they stopped at a small café to grab a quick meal.

As they waited for the food to come out they talked about the vehicles they had viewed that day. John was listing the pros and cons of each car on a paper napkin when an attractive well-dressed young man appeared at their table.

He said that he and his companion had overheard the couple’s conversation and thought they might be able to help. He told them that he was selling a very reasonably priced vehicle that would work perfectly for them. He asked if he could bring it over to their house that night? While the young couple was unsure they reluctantly agreed.

Later that evening, sure enough, the young man and his friend did indeed show up at their door and in their driveway was a wonderful looking shiny white SUV. As the young men described all the features of the vehicle it was obvious that it had everything they were looking for. It was large, perfect for their growing family, had low mileage, and was reasonably priced. It even had a GPS so they would always find their way.

It was a brand they were unfamiliar with but one of the young men assured them that it had been around for some time and was, in fact, one of the fastest growing auto manufacturers in the world.

Nevertheless, not wanting to make a mistake John enquired about the history of the car. The young man told John that unfortunately he had recently had a house fire and all the records were destroyed but he gave them his sincere personal assurance that everything was just fine.

After the young men left, the young couple talked late into the night about the vehicle and after even praying about it they both felt it was the right choice for them.

The next day the John cleaned out their savings account and purchased the car.

Wanting the car to look its best John stopped off at the carwash to give it a good clean. As he ran the high-pressure wand over the rear rocker panel a little patch of paint came off revealing a green color below. John was a little puzzled as the young men have not mentioned that the car was repainted.

The family really did enjoy their new car they took it everywhere.

Jane noticed one morning that there was a little pool of what seemed like gasoline under the car when she moved it in the morning. As their trip was fast approaching John took his new car to the local mechanic to check out the leak and get the oil changed.

The mechanic said that it was a small fracture in the fuel line that was causing the leak and it was a very expensive repair but also told John, “If you can live with a small leak on your driveway it’s probably not going to get worse, but I wouldn’t smoke close to it.”  John said that wouldn’t be a problem as he and his wife had recently sworn off cigarettes.

While the car was on the hoist, the mechanic pointed out to John a serious rust problem on the frame. He asked John where the vehicle came from. He told John he used to see a lot of this when he lived in upstate New York, where they put salt on the roads in the winter. He also told John that even those cars had 100,000 miles on them but had never seen it on a car with just 10,000 miles on the odometer. Also, he told John, “Your tires are also totally bald, you may want to replace them before too long.”

John and Jane were starting to have doubts as to whether they had made a good purchase.

When John finished work and went to start his new car it did not turn over. He called the auto club who responded fairly quickly and boosted the battery but it still would not start. John asked the driver if he could tow it to the mechanic.

As they were hooking up the car, the tow-truck driver asked John how he liked the car. John said he liked it but there have been a few issues. The driver said, “My brother-in-law had one of these and he totaled it. But his was an ugly green color.”

John called the young man who he had bought the car from but the person answering the phone said that his company had transferred him. The second young man had completed his contract and had moved back to his home.

When John explained the situation to the man on the phone, who identified himself as the company’s president, he told John that he knows the car well, that the car is perfect and those who say otherwise don’t know what they are talking about. The town mechanic hates our company and is just spreading lies.

John and Jane don’t know what to do. Do they listen to the critics or do what the president told them, just put their doubts out of their mind and press on?

Paul Douglas
The Letter to an Apostle