Thankfulness: Behemoth Revisited

Steve Skaggs

I saw The Behemoth again today. I hadn’t seen it for many months. There it was, in a vacant lot in a bad section of town, crammed full of clothing and I don’t know what else. Seeing it made me consider anew God’s continued undeserved blessings to me and my family.

The Behemoth was the van I discussed in an article called “Young, Cool, and In Love.” I told of its many quirks and then summed up by expressing my gratitude for having old clothes and an old vehicle but a marriage and family that are, thanks to the Lord, intact.

After the article was written I put The Behemoth out in the front yard with a “for sale” sign in it. One day Cindy said, “There’s that car again. Those people have been by several times, but they never stop.”

I hurried out to flag down the car as it drove slowly past. “Can I help you?”

Four people got out of the car—a thin woman who had difficulty walking and two others, apparently her grown daughter and a teenage son. There was also a cute little girl, perhaps two years old, who started playing with our kids’ toys in the front yard.

“How much you askin’?” the lady wanted to know. I told her. “Could we take it for a drive?” I handed her the keys.

They didn’t drive it far—just once around the block. The woman struggled to get in and out of it. I started to list some of The Behemoth’s problems. “The air doesn’t work. But it’ll be a good vehicle to get you around town and stuff. I wouldn’t take it on any long trips.”

The woman shrugged. “That don’t matter to us. We’re homeless. We want it to live in.” I couldn’t think of an appropriate response. I just said, “Oh!”

“We been livin’ in this car. We need somethin’ bigger.”

I looked at the little girl playing in my kids’ playhouse. How would her opinion of our modest home and patchy lawn differ from mine?

“I give you three hundred now to hold it fer me. I have to find the rest of my family—they’re in another car. We’ll go to the bank and draw out all our money and bring it by in a hour. I’ll sign somethin’ if you want me to.”

I scribbled a note, giving the date and stating that she had given me money to hold the van for her. “This is really to protect you,” I said. “To prove that you gave me the money, so I don’t sell it to someone else while you’re at the bank.” I wrote two copies and we signed them both.

Cindy and the kids and I put a bag of groceries and a gospel tract in the van. I waited more than an hour, but the family didn’t return. I had to get to work, so I told Cindy to call me when they came back. It wasn’t until late in the afternoon when they did. I wanted to see them when they returned—I wanted to say, “In spite of what you might think in your circumstances, the Lord loves you and wants to save you.” But I didn’t have the opportunity. They came by and made the transaction before I could get home. So when I got there, The Behemoth was gone.

The Behemoth—this was the van I had complained about because it didn’t have air conditioning and because not all the doors worked right. This was the van that had made me feel noble because I was willing to sacrifice luxury to drive it. This was the van that I had felt was really just a little beneath me— but I was glad for it, I was glad for it.

Now it was to be someone’s home—a step up for them, four people who had been living—what kind of a life?—in a compact car.

So today I saw it again. It was undoubtedly The Behemoth—same color, same distinguishing marks. We were driving our “new” van (only fifteen years old!), much nicer than The Behemoth.

But seeing The Behemoth and remembering what had become of it was a rebuke to me—a rebuke because I have beyond what I need and yet always want just a little more. Just a little more—not much, I’m not greedy, Lord—just a little more, Lord, and then I’ll be happy. Then I’ll have what I need to serve You as I should.

See, as long as I maintain that attitude, then I can deceive myself into thinking that it’s the Lord’s fault when I don’t completely obey Him, not mine.

If I only had a better vehicle, Lord! Or if my house were just a little bit bigger— we really need another bathroom, Lord. It’s not a “want”—I’m not spoiled. Forget the fact that when my dad was a kid, his family didn’t even have indoor plumbing. That doesn’t matter. Our family needs a second bathroom— and an extra bedroom—and just a little more money each month—then I’ll be happy—then I’ll serve wholeheartedly!

“And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of say, “In spite of what you might think in [saints who] had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (Of whom the world was not worthy:) … ” (Heb. 11:32, 36–38a).

That was fine for them, Lord—but as for me and my house, well—we say, “In spite of what you might think in need say, “In spite of what you might think in just say, “In spite of what you might think in a little say, “In spite of what you might think in more.

At the time of original publication, Steve Skaggs was Product Development Manager at BJU Press in Greenville, South Carolina.

(Originally published in FrontLine • November/December 2002. Click here to subscribe to the magazine.)