Commentary: Like an old car, we're still going, dents and all


My first car was a green Ford Maverick with the shift on the column and a broken gas gauge. I had to keep up with my miles between gas purchases so that I would not run out. I think it was a 1971 model.

I bought this baby for $500 with my grass-cutting earnings. When I was 10 or 11 years old, I decided it was time to make some money. I hung a poster in the nearby convenience store on Highway 49 in my hometown of Milledgeville that read “Will mow lawns in Allenwood. Call David Chancey at . . .”

Several days later, Ms. Morris called. I rode my bike across our subdivision, went to the door, and this little senior adult answered. This retired schoolteacher couldn’t believe this little guy was in the grass-cutting business, but she gave me a shot and was very pleased. She also paid me $3 every time I mowed her yard.

I began picking up other customers. Mrs. Weaver paid $2. Mrs. Patterson paid $4. If I got a $5 job, that was quite a jump. I saved. I picked up other work here and there while still mowing my yards. In the fall, I’d rake their leaves, clean their gutters, or do whatever they needed.

I didn’t walk to school in the snow, but I did push my lawn mower all over the neighborhood.

Towards the end of my senior year, this Maverick came my way. My high school friend and neighbor, David Simpson, told me his dad’s bank had repossessed it and I purchased it. I loved that car.

One Saturday, I took a friend to Six Flags. I drove the nicer family car and left my Maverick for my dad to drive. I got home late after everyone had gone to bed.

On Sunday morning, Mom always cooked a big breakfast, and we’d gather around the table and then hurry off to church. I dragged myself to the table and my dad said a blessing I’ll never forget:

“Dear Lord, thank you for this food and bless it to the nourishment of our bodies and our bodies to thy service. And thank you for being with me and Mark (my brother) yesterday when we wrecked David’s car. Amen.”

That woke me up. On Saturday, Daddy was turning into a shopping center when he was rear-ended and pushed into a car pulling out of the lot. So, my car was bashed at both ends. Sadly, it was totaled. Shortly afterwards, I served a summer missions assignment, and, while away, my dad battled the insurance adjustor until he was satisfied with the settlement.

Fast forward to 2010. I drove a 1994 Toyota Corolla that we purchased in 1999 with around 65,000 miles on it. It had nearly 294,000 when we sold it.

You know your car is on the way out when your mechanic calls and asks, “Do you need anything done on your car this week?”  He’d seen it a few too many times as the miles piled up.

So, in June 2010, we purchased my current car, a Honda Accord, which now has over 282,500 miles on it. Mechanically, it’s sound. However, the paint job leaves a lot to be desired. I don’t like the scrapes and dents. It’s showing its age.

Aren’t we all? We might as well embrace this aging thing. Someone said, “It’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” It’s not the miles; it’s the smiles along the way and enjoying each day we’re given.

There are a few parts wearing out, but I’m still going strong. And I desire to live for Jesus until He calls me home. What about you?

Genesis 25:8 reads, “Abraham died in a good old age, an old man and full of years” (the NLT says he lived a long and satisfying life). I may not make it to 175 like Abraham did, but I plan to relish every moment as I grow older, dings and all.

After all, growing old is mandatory, but enjoying it and embracing the joys and challenges that come with it are optional.


Dr. David L. Chancey is pastor, McDonough Road Baptist Church,  Fayetteville, Georgia. The church family invites you to join them each Sunday. Visit for more information and online viewing options. Visit to see more of Chancey’s writings and to purchase his new book, Marvelous Faith: Pursuing the Faith that Makes Jesus Marvel.