The Power of One
“Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead,” -Philippians 3:13
A couple of weeks ago, I saw an interesting sight. It was one of those “What was that?” images that caused me to look twice…and then to laugh once! The scene that caught my eye was a car lot with just one car…on the whole the lot. That was it! One car! The sign read ‘Car Lot’, but the lot read ‘Car…One’. I couldn’t help but laugh as I thought to myself…that must be some car! Just imagine the owner conversing with a potential customer. It might sound something like this:
Dealer: Come in…come in…how may I help you today?
Customer: Well, I came to look at your car selection.
Dealer: You have come to the right place! I have just the car you need!
Customer: But, you don’t know what I’m looking for yet.
Dealer: You did say you needed a car, right?
Customer: Yes, but I didn’t say what kind I wanted.
Dealer: Well, I’m guessing you want a reliable car for a good price that will last you for many years.
Customer: That’s right, where are these cars?
Dealer: Oh, you wanted to buy more than one?
Customer: No, I only need one car.
Dealer: Great! I only have one car…but it’s the perfect car!
Customer: But, I want to look at several cars so that I can pick the right one for me.
Dealer: Well, that sounds awfully time consuming. I try to save my customers time and money by taking the guess work out of shopping.
Customer: Well…that sounds good, but how do you know what color I like…or how many cup holders I need, or whether or not I want bench seats or bucket seats? How can one car fit everyone’s needs?
Dealer: Needs? I thought you needed a car.
Customer: I do. That’s why I’m here.
Dealer: Great! I have the perfect car…it has all you need!
After I had chuckled over the illogicality of this one car car lot, I realized there was something much bigger lying beneath the humor of this representation. It took a minute to put my finger on it, but sure enough…there it was…it was the depiction of a mindset, of a personal philosophy that stands out as blatantly in our lives as a single car does on a car lot. We may refer to it as The Power of One.
When I thought about the one car on the car lot, I couldn’t help but think that it represented all the owner believed to be good and necessary in a vehicle. He had looked at all the options and settled on the one thing he believed was the best product for his customers…and he offered nothing else. Isn’t that a philosophy of sorts, in that the owner offered, endorsed, and promoted just one thing? Isn’t that what we’re all called to do? Aren’t we to do just one thing…and do it well? According to the Apostle Paul, that’s exactly what we are to do. In his letter to the Philippians, he writes, “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
Paul knew the importance of living a life set on one purpose: attaining eternal life through Christ Jesus. Everything Paul did was toward that endeavor; Paul, if you will, had only one car on his lot, and it was the car of surrender. Because of his goal, Paul surrendered his will, his position, his wealth, his privileges, his comfort, and his choices…for just one thing. But it was everything! His car of surrender offered peace, wisdom, assurance, protection, perseverance, and an eternal inheritance. What other mode of transportation could do that?
There’s something to be said for doing one thing…and doing it well; for offering up one thing when it is your best thing. As consumers, we desire choices. We somehow want to sift through endless possibilities to find that one item we are looking for. Perhaps it’s part of our ENA (Eve-nucleic Acid); that age old desire for choice that has been embedded into our genetic makeup since the Garden of Eden. But, regardless of its origin, its occurrence is as noticeable as…as…as a car lot with just one car! We live in a world of choices. Not only do we live for them, but we live by them. We choose where to go based upon the number of choices we’ll have once we get there. Then, when we arrive, we spend our time sorting through the countless choices we have before us and, as often as not, decide there really weren’t enough choices to fit our needs!
But, in our lives, we are more than consumers. We are also producers. And, it is in this area that I believe the Power of One is most important. What we produce is what we have to offer; what we produce reflects who we are; and what we produce reveals what we value. When it comes to being a producer, how many options do we want on our lot? How about in our beliefs? Do we want to have an assortment of them so that no one will be excluded from our showroom…or do we want to hold to just one? What about in our values? Do we want to value everything, which (in all logic) results in devaluing those same things? And what about priorities? Does the word itself not require the sequencing, the narrowing down of our choices, removing the unimportant from the uno-important? When we look at our lives from the angle of the producer, we see just how philosophically correct this car lot of one really is!
Paul had it right when he said, “but one thing I do,”. That’s the philosophy of the Power of One; that’s the philosophy I want to embrace and to exhibit. In a world filled with choices, I want to choose those things that make my path narrower, not wider; I want to offer fewer options rather than multiple selections; I want to be the proud owner of a one car car lot so that others will say, “Wow! That must be some car!” Isn’t that what God did? When He made available His One mode of transportation to Heaven, didn’t He offer just the One ride? As consumers, we want choices and, unfortunately, many avoid God’s car lot because it doesn’t offer the vehicle they desire. After all…there’s just that One vehicle on the lot…and it’s a Christ-ler! (I’m so sorry…it just kept coming up until I finally pinned it down by penning it down. My apologies.) But God, in His wisdom and love, does not give us more options, He gives us only one because One is all we need. And, in knowing us all too well, God knew that the more choices we were offered, the more wrong choices we would make. So, for our good, for our attainment, for our security, God gave us His one and only Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus is our transportation to God; it is through Him that we reach our final destination of Heaven. And, should we choose another lot and another vehicle, then our driver will also change along with our destination, for there is “no other name [vehicle] under heaven…by which we must be saved,” (Acts 4:12).
It’s funny how contradictions stand out around us. Like car lots that offer just one car, we do a double-take when we see something that goes against the norm. When it comes to the life of a believer, that’s the same impact God is calling us to have on the consumers around us. We should inflict a head-jerk reaction on passers-by as they see in us a contradiction with the world. We don’t offer what others expect, we don’t covet what others offer, and we don’t promote a myriad of options, but “this one thing we do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, [we] press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” After all, contradictions get noticed; contradictions get questioned; and contradictions just might transform consumers into producers who then embrace The Power of One.
Just one car lot. Just one car. Just one contradiction. Just one message. Just one life to offer. Just One Savior to accept. Here’s to lives that are as full as a car lot of one! May we all live so purposefully that when others pass our lot, they do a double-take and say, “Wow! That must be some Christ-ler!” (Yes…again with the apologies…but it does make you look…and perhaps think… twice, does it not?)