Tag Archives: envy

Because Things Don’t Last Forever

Story of the Day for Wednesday March 28, 2012

Because Things Don’t Last Forever

My feet almost slipped, and I almost lost my footing, because I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.  
Psalm 73:3

When our family moved to Montana, we needed another vehicle to pull a trailer. I bought an old, beat-up van for $500. It was a piece of work, let me tell you, but it did have a big motor and an AM radio.

One day a teenager was riding with me when we stopped at an intersection, and he saw a very expensive sports car.  He marveled at the car, and named the make and model. “Man, I wish I had a car like that.”

“Want to know something?”I said, “I think I get more enjoyment out of this old junker of mine than he does from his sports car.”

He looked at me as if I was joking.

But I was serious. I asked him who was more anxious about getting a scratch on his vehicle: him or me? Who was more concerned about his vehicle getting stolen? Who had the bigger payments? Who was more worried about someone backing into his car while he’s in the grocery store? I pointed out that he would enjoy the luxury and handling of his car, but that his ultimate pleasure would be enjoying the envy of others. Yet, next year, a newer model would come out. How would he feel when he sees people on the road with newer, better, more expensive cars than his?

At this point my teenage friend suggested I was compensating for feelings of inadequacy at having to drive an old, beat up clunker.

But he was wrong. That old van finally reached the point where it could no longer be  fixed with duct tape and piano wire, and we  had to junk it. (My daughter had just been  planning to paint the whole thing and make it look like a hippie van.) Our kids still light up and laugh when we reminisce about the old, mean green machine and the fun times we had.

Yes.

Do rich kids reminisce and tell fond stories about the luxury cars they used to own? I hope so, but I suspect they don’t

But I do know this: wealth is a gift from God. If you have it, I hope the Lord also gives you the gift to enjoy it.

But Benjamin Franklin once posed an interesting question: What kind of furniture would you buy if everyone in the world but you were blind?  If we use our wealth to create envy, we will find our pleasure is pretty hollow.

And if we envy those who have what we do not, we will always live in a state of discontent.

Be content with what you have.

All that said, I still hope that, some day, you, too, can own a $500 beater van.  Paint it like a hippie van as soon as you get it . . . because things don’t last forever.

         (copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)

It Wasn’t Newsworthy

Story of the Day for Wednesday February 8, 2012

It Wasn’t Newsworthy

                      Don’t seek your own glory, challenging and envying each other. 

                                                                 Galatians 5:26

Samuel Langley was passionate about building the first manned, motorized flying machine. He was given financial backing from the U.S. government, with another institution kicking in a substantial (for those days) $20,000.

Langley was an ingenious inventor and his solid financial backing enabled him to hire some of the brightest minds of his day.

His airplane, called the Aerodrome, couldn’t be steered and had no landing wheels. The plane, perched atop a houseboat on the Potomac River, would be launched with a catapult.

On December 9, 1903, the press crowded the shore to witness the first piloted flight. The catapult was to whip the plane from a dead stop to 60 m.p.h. in a mere 70 feet. Unfortunately, the plane was unable to withstand the force of the catapult and the tail and a wing collapsed — swatting the plane over the side of the boat and into the Potomac.

 

Eight days after this humiliating debacle, two brothers took their invention to the sandy Kill Devil Hills of North Carolina. Neither Orville or Wilbur Wright had a high school diploma. They worked out of their bike shop in Dayton, Ohio. Their only assistant was Charlie Taylor, the shop mechanic. Their budget was under a thousand dollars. But on December 17th, 1903, Orville piloted the first motorized flight.

When Orville and Wilbur telegraphed the news to their hometown paper, the newspaper refused to print the story — claiming it wasn’t newsworthy. In fact, the Wright brothers’ amazing feat was ignored by everyone. The first person to understand the significance of their accomplishment and report it was Amos Root, who wrote about it in his journal on beekeeping: Gleanings in Bee Culture.

 

When the rest of the world finally realized what the Wright brothers had accomplished, the Smithsonian Institution remained adamant in refusing to acknowledge the Wright brothers’ feat. Instead, they exhibited Langley’s Aerodrome in its museum, claiming it as the first aircraft “capable” of manned powered flight.

Orville Wright repeatedly presented his claims to the Smithsonian, but they ignored him. In disgust, Wright shipped his airplane to the London Science Museum.

After a generation of wrangling, the Smithsonian finally acknowledged the Wright brothers as the first to achieve a manned, powered flight. The famous airplane was returned from London and, forty-five years after the historic flight, was displayed in the Smithsonian.

 

Why did the Smithsonian fight so hard to name Samuel Langley as the inventor of the first airplane?  Perhaps you would want to know that the institution that generously gave $20,000 to Langley to build his airplane was the Smithsonian. And you may be further interested to know that the director of the Smithsonian at that time was none other than Samuel Langley. And, though Langley made no claims of achieving the first successful flight, his successor at the Smithsonian, Charles Walcott, was Langley’s close friend.

(copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)