1968/1969 were sad years for me. Matchbox, in an attempt to keep pace with HotWheels, changed the engineering on the axles of their cars. The new axles, designed to allow the cars to speed down HotWheel tracks, are thin and bend easily. The “new and improved” Matchbox cars were virtually useless on the dirt roads we spent hours building in the ditch at Carachipampa Christian Boarding School, Cochabamba, Bolivia, and the dirt pile in the back lot at the Iglesia Luterana El Redentor, La Paz, Bolivia. Typical of Bolivian mountain roads, ours were full of switchbacks. A favorite “trick” was to hand polish the moist earth unti it got a hard black shine. We called it “paving.” My Matchbox passion ended at the end of 4th grade largely because we gave away all my cars before we came to the US for a year of furlough. The cars had changed when we returned for my sixth grade year. I continued to build roads through sixth and seventh grades, but I never liked the new axles and the passion died away. A childhood friend has suggested that my current “obsession” with designing and building model railroad layouts in the garden is a continuation of my love for engineering roads for my Matchbox cars.
I am convicted by this week’s New Testament text when I compare the things for which I have been passionate with the passion Paul had for his people who had not accepted the message of Christ. I am reminded that God has a deep passion that He wants us to also have toward the peoples of the earth. Paul was so emphatic with his proclamation of “great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart” that he tripled his affirmation: “I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit…” His passion for his people was so strong that he was even willing to trade his own salvation if only they would all come to the confession that Christ is God over all, blessed forever.
Oh, Christ, make my heart Your heart and give me your desire for the lost. Amen.