Through the Windshield of My Life
1965 Chrysler 300 – Grandpa’s Beauty Came Into Our Driveway
“Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” Genesis 2:7
I know, you are thinking, “How does this scripture have anything to do with the Chrysler 300?” Read further and you will understand my thoughts.
In 1965, my grandpa and grandma came to visit us in Omaha driving up in a brand new 1965 Chrysler 300 four door hardtop. This car was an awesome beauty to behold. Outside it was deep wine burgundy. A color I have never seen on another car since then. It was metallic and shined deeply in the bright sun. My grandpa kept his cars with impeccable detail so you can imagine after driving 500 miles from Denver he had to have the car washed upon their arrival. I was so excited to get a ride in his car.
Huge changes occurred in 1965 for the American car. They had just designed almost every car with “curved” side glass rather than the traditional flat windows. This made cars much more sleek and this car was no exception. It had lines that were drawn with an artist’s eye into a long sleek beauty.
So, the next day Grandpa asked if I wanted to go for a ride in his new 300. Oh, boy, you bet! I got inside and he immediately showed me the price sticker with all the options listed. The final price was $4995.00! that was a huge amount of money in 1965 and this car had everything on it. I looked around the interior and saw “pearl” white everywhere. The dash, the doors and the seats were all so beautiful. Then I noticed the steering wheel, it was a crowning jewel. It was a swirly pearl white like nothing I had seen in a car before. I was mesmerized by the combination of the wine exterior with the pearl inside. He started up the car and put down all the windows. That was a cool feature of the hard top, driving with the side windows down gave it an even sleeker look.
As it ran with smooth precision Grandpa explained to me that this car had a “muscle car” engine in it. With a four barrel carburetor and a 413 cubic inch engine, he said this car would beat anyone on the street. We backed slowly out of the driveway for our test drive. As we moved onto the street, my very elderly looking grandpa, who was completely bald and wore tinted hexagon rimless glasses, stepped on the gas and the car felt like it went out from under us. This was on a straight residential street that was 25 miles per hour! It was a quick burst of speed but he just wanted to show me what “she” would do if you stepped on it. I was so excited!
Then he turned to me and said, ” Do you want to drive it? Come over here and sit on my lap. ” I didn’t even think about the illegalities of what was happening, but oh my gosh, the steering was so easy and it was so cool to see things from behind the driver’s seat. I think I got to drive about a block.
We got back into the driveway and talked further about his new car going over the window sticker with a fine toothed comb. This was an amazing and beautiful car. I got into the back seat and found the smooth form of the bucket seats in front were like a sculpture shaped with human hands to a fine form. And, by the way, in 1965 bucket seats in a four door car were extremely rare, so this four door was quite the sport’s car in every way.
I have looked over the years to see if I could find another one like it but all I can think is that maybe this was a one of a kind special order that would never be seen again.
So, again, what does this have to do with God forming man out of the dust of the earth?
Recently I was reading the book of Genesis and found the passage below to capture my imagination. I have excerpted this from the Amplified Version because it says exactly what I want to convey.
And God blessed them and said to them, Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it [using all its vast resources in the service of God and man]; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and over every living creature that moves upon the earth. Genesis 1:28 AMP
We often hear the question, “Why did God create us?” An answer many of us have heard is to “glorify Him”. So, what does it mean to glorify Him? I have often struggled with this question because it is so ambiguous. What can I do to glorify God?
As I ponder this scripture today, I am encouraged beyond belief. If God asked us to subdue the earth through using its vast resources then I think of it this way. Everything that I do as I work every day, is somehow connected to subduing the earth! When I clean house or mow my yard I am bringing order to disorder, shine to dullness, taking trash to an appropriate place to dispose of it.
If you work in accounting, when you go to work to analyze a business practice, you are helping to bring order to disorder. When you teach children, you are helping them to learn to be productive members of society in order that they might assist in taking care of our world and the people in it.
But let’s take this even further. God said he made man out of the dust (elements) of the earth. I also pondered what this actually means. When scientists evaluated the makeup of the human body they have told us that we are made up of water, chemicals, atoms and numerous other elements that are found in the earth. God took those elements and “subdued” them into a miraculous form that made the first man, the animals, living creatures, plants, and everything we see.
I am taking an intellectual leap to say that subduing the earth means to do as God did. Take the elements we have been given and make something greater, more useful out of them! This brings glory to our creator God! To take care of, to steward, to improve upon the earth and everything in it, pleases the One who made it and gave it to us.
When a man heats silica (glass) to a specific temperature then turns it on a special rod he can create beautiful glass objects, vessels, and so many other wonderful things. This is bringing silica into subjection of the artist. When lumber company received raw trees they will cut the tree in its raw state into a manageable form so it can be used to build homes, furniture, and works of art. Through man’s creative abilities there are limitless possibilities as to how the “dust” of the earth can be made into unspeakable wonders.
When the creative hands of the artist press, form, and carve exotic woods, they are put to use in creating a violin, a harp, a clarinet and other instruments that can fill the air with wonderful music! Does this bring glory to God? Or as the metal artist tempers, forms and molds brass into a saxophone, a trumpet, or a flute which, when played by the gifted musical artist, bring us joy, peace, celebration and certainly glory to the Creator who provided those elements for our use.
As Andrew Lloyd Webber took the music in his heart and mind and placed it on paper to be read by men and women his notes became some of the most beautiful musical scores that we can hear. Is it any wonder why we can feel such movement in our hearts as we listen to certain music or see someone dance with perfection? Certainly it is because someone is allowing their God given talent to be put to work in creating artistic pleasure.
I have a friend who is an excellent photographer. I was looking through some of his pictures finding amazing beauty as captured through the lens of his camera. I thought, “how did you see that? Where did you find that flower?” or “Wow, she is beautiful!” I learned that through the discriminating eye of the photographic artist he captures an image that is placed in a manageable framed segment so that I can enjoy it’s intricacy. I saw a forest, he saw the delicate flower in the middle that I couldn’t see. This too brings glory to God. Bringing His creation into a form so we can all enjoy it, is pure worship of the One who gave it to us to enjoy.
Of course, we can use our talents in perversion that certainly brings grief to God and can wound others. But in this writing I want to bring the incredible wonder of God’s command to Adam to subdue the earth to our minds to encourage and lift up our hearts.
Everything we do every day, when we’re centered on the One who created our world, is worship. Its glorifying to His Name whether it is coming from a bookkeeper or a house keeper.
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters. Colossians 3:23
I have often thought of this passage in the context of having to work every day and to find a way to make sure I did it with integrity and the right attitude. But now, I find a deeper meaning that is energizing!
Worshiping God through subduing the earth!
So, back to the 1965 Chrysler 300.
As I think about the real message here, my mind thinks of the elements of the earth. The steel, chemicals, natural elements that have come from the earth have been subdued by creative human beings. The designers, mechanical workers, artists, business management teams etc. have all worked together to make an automobile. Not a vehicle just to drive, but to enjoy, to look at, to appreciate and to make memories with.
The beautiful, wine colored, work of art in that car and it’s amazing pearl white interior glorifies the Creator! We can call it materialistic, or we can chose to call it an amazing response to the elements of the earth that God has given us to subdue, to rule over, to use in our daily lives, to bring Him glory!
It’s no wonder why my heart takes a few extra beats when I see an “American Beauty” roll up beside me. God’s heart is beating as well when He sees something we have done with what He has given us. Much like our joy when we see a colorful picture that a child has drawn. They have drawn it with the wax from the earth that has been subdued into a Crayola Crayon! Creation itself cries out in worship of our Awesome, Amazing God!
He replied, I tell you that if these keep silent, the very stones will cry out. Luke 19:40
I think with or without our hands, the elements of the earth speak to God’s glory. As we harvest them, mold them, bring them into subjection through our hands the God of wonders will be glorified!
How amazing is this? Today the work of your hands is part of the stewardship of the creation he has given us! As he formed us out of the dust, He has called us to do the same.