When My Chevy Monza “Ragged Out!”


“For want of a nail the shoe was lost; For want of a shoe the horse was lost; For want of a horse the rider was lost; For want of a rider the battle was lost; For want of a battle the kingdom was lost; And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.”(Nursery rhyme).

This simple nursery rhyme reminds me of one of my life’s most embarrassing moments. A couple of years after my wife and I were married, broke and desperately trying to keep my head above water, I went to put oil into the engine of my fairly new Chevrolet Monza. I discovered that somehow the oil cap to the car had been left off. As I poured oil into the car I looked around to see if there was something I could temporarily use to stop the oil from spitting out of the engine. Being at a gas station there were plenty of oil rags around so I put a rag into the top of the engine to temporarily solve my problem. If I would have had any money I would have driven a mile or so, stopped off at a parts store and bought an oil cap. I’m sure it didn’t cost much but having “nothing” I gambled that it would be OK. A few days went by and while driving to work one day I felt a sudden surge in the car. I didn’t think much off it but by the time I reached work the car had a loud ping and a horrible tapping sound. As I opened the hood to the car, smoke billowed out and to my great consternation I discovered that the rag had been sucked into the engine.

Long story short, the  now shredded rag plugged up the engine, destroyed it,  and it cost me $2500 to get a new “used” one.  If not for a benevolent employer who loaned me the money I would have had to junk the car. And so, back to the nursery rhyme, for want of a dollar the car was lost. Perhaps for want of the car the job was lost. Perhaps for want of the job the house was lost. For want of a house the marriage was lost. And so you can see that small things can sometimes lead to catastrophes.

So it is with the small things of the gospel. Most of the commandments seem so small but “for want” of these things there can be tremendous long-term consequences.   For “want” of small things like prayer, scripture reading, church attendance, sabbath observance, Family Home Evening, etc. we can find that we are suddenly faced with large problems that come from an accumulation of small needs unmet.  “For want” we can lose the kingdom!

And so if we do the small things, then “… if ye do this with a pure heart, in all faithfulness, ye shall be blessed; you shall be blessed in your flocks, and in your herds, and in your fields, and in your houses, and in your families.” (D&C 136:11).  We are encouraged by the prophets to do the small things so that costly break-downs don’t befall us and our families.  We would be wise to heed their counsel.

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