Summary: A parallel between the restoration of a car to the restoration of a soul.
Lido Anthony Iacocca was born October 15, 1924 in Allentown, Pennsylvania to Italian immigrants. His family had settled in Allentown and ran a small restaurant called Yocco’s Hot Dogs. He grew up and graduated from Allentown High School in 1942 and later he attended LeHigh University and earned a degree in industrial engineering. After some time at Princeton University, he began his career at Ford Motor Company as an engineer. But as time passed, he realized he was dissatisfied with his job, so he switched career paths at Ford. Lee moved into the company’s sales force where he quickly moved up through the ranks and ultimately into product development. Iacocca then gained national recognition in 1956 for his “56 for 56” campaign offering a 1956 model automobile for 56 dollars a month. He became involved more and more with product development. His idea was a sporty yet economical car that would cover all of the areas of customers from grocery getters to speed demons all at an affordable price- let’s say less than 3000 dollar in the mid 60’s. Now remember, Ford still had not recovered from the Edsel failures of the late 1950’s and just was not going to spend millions of dollars in design and marketing. The Ford Edsel had lost 350 Million Dollars, which is 1.55 Billion Dollars in today’s dollars. It flopped despite 400 Million Dollars invested in development. So, they were not in any mood for something else new. Yet, undeterred, Iacocca pushed forward with the new Ford “T-5.” It was introduced at the 64 World’s Fair in New York City and would go on to be one of the world’s greatest successes in auto world history. What? You have never heard it? OK, I forgot to tell you that the T-5 name was already being used in Germany and that the name had to be changed. It was changed to the new 1965 Ford Mustang. And the rest, as they say, is history! Iacocca had restored Ford to prominence after a terrible failure.
It’s kind of like God does with us. We fail terribly and yet God restores us to prominence. So what do we need to do to be restored? First, we will talk about bodily restoration. There are many instances in the Bible of people being restored. One is in the book of Mark Chapter 3. In the chapter, Jesus had gone into the synagogue and a man with a shriveled hand was there. The Pharisees were looking for a reason to accuse Christ, so they watched him to see if he would heal on the Sabbath. Jesus then asked the man to stand up in front of everyone and asked, in verse four, which was lawful on the Sabbath: to do good of to do evil? To save a life, or to kill? But they remained silent, and Jesus looked at them in anger and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched out his hand and it was completely restored. Then, later on, in Chapter 8 verse 25 says, “Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, and his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.” The faith of these men in Christ restored them to prominence. Are we like the Pharisees, looking for a reason to accuse Christ, or do we have faith the size of a mustard seed to believe we can truly be restored? These are instances of a restored body. Jesus said in Matthew 11:5, “The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. It is our jobs as Christians to preach the good news of Jesus to all nations. You know that we pray to heal others or ourselves bodily needs, which is what we need to do, but God’s word in Jeremiah 15:19 says, “Therefore, this is what the Lord says: If you repent, I will restore you that you may serve me. If you utter worthy, not useless words, you will be my spokesman.” We are restored to serve him.
For those of you who know me, or even if you don’t, one of my hobbies is the old Ford Mustang. The same ol’ Mustang that Lee Iacocca had pushed for to restore Ford, I wanted one to restore back to prominence. So, I bought a 1965 convertible that you could literally stand on the ground inside the car. A true Fred Flintstone-Mobile. The proverbial piece of junk- a bucket of bolts. Everyone that saw the car simply giggled and laughed and said, “You will never finish this project.” But I began to find pieces and parts here and there to start this major undertaking. Everything had to be changed. I once said that I liked the driveshaft so well that I built a car around it. Little by little, it started to come together. The interior was recovered, the engine revived, the chrome redone, and the body repainted. The restoration was over and the fun was about to begin! The restored Mustang before me became a symbol to me. If I could breathe new life into a bucket of rust, just think of what God can do with me with all of the parts at his disposal! This Mustang, like the Bible stories before was a bodily restoration. We can change everything but it is a major undertaking and not without suffering. I had many cuts and bruises, and came close to giving up several times. Sometimes, the parts did not fit correctly, or were for the wrong side, and sometimes I had the temptation to make it fit anyway. But patience finally overcame it all, and I didn’t give up. For in Romans 5:3, it says, “Not only do we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character, and hope. And hope does not disappoint us because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” Yes, God can restore us if we will repent and serve him! Our body is the temple of God. Restore it carefully.