Dr. Jerry Beavan
"Jerry Remembers" ... in which Jerry Beavan, at age 93, recounts events from his experiences in a wide ranging field of endeavors, which include being a college and seminary professor ... a corporate executive in the insurance and pharmaceutical industries ... a federal lobbyist in Washington, DC ... and as Billy Graham described him, "the architect of world evangelism as we know it today."
Now retired and physically handicapped, restricted to a wheel chair, Jerry has been Senior Editor of the weekly American News Commentary, now in its 10th year of publication.
I recently saw in a news item a report that the Model T Ford was among the 10 best selling cars of all time. And that announcement brought on a flood of memories.
I remember my first car. It was in 1936—I was a Senior in High School, and the year before, at age 16, I had received my New York State "Junior License." I purchased the car, a 1919 Model T Ford, for $5.00 from an old farmer who had kept the car in his barn for several years. It was what was called a "touring car," 4 doors and a fold-back top, and black, because in those days that was the only color Henry Ford used. The car was exactly my age, since 1919 was my birth year.
For those who never drove a Model T, let me explain: it had a "planetary" transmission. There were 3 pedals on the floor; the left one was the clutch, and when depressed all the way, it was in low gear. When fully released, it was in high gear. Pressed half way it made it possible to push the center pedal, and it was in reverse. The right pedal was the foot brake. The accelerator was a lever on the steering wheel column. And there is this interesting fact to remember: in 1936 gasoline cost 18 cents a gallon.
The Model T was produced until October, 1927, and was named "The Most Influential Car of the 20th Century" in an international poll. The Model A Ford which followed it had a standard transmission as we know it today. Because the new Ford was so different, Mr. Ford scrapped his previous alphabetical list of models, and started over with "A."
In 1937, when I went away to college, I sold the car for $9.00, so I had a year of enjoyable transportation and made almost a 100% profit. It is difficult to convert those prices into today's values. In 1919 my car was selling new for about $300.00, which would be approximately equivalent to $3,500.00 today. I have recently seen ads for Model Ts of that period for sale at prices ranging from $18,000 to $27,000.
I haven't been able to find an applicable spiritual lesson from this memory. It fits in with those lists which we old-timers enjoy reading, about how our life style has changed, with the advent of TV, cell phones, computers, air travel and even refrigerators—I grew up with having an ice man deliver blocks of ice for our ice box, and a telephone where the operator asked: "Number, please." That there has been change and possibly improvement in our way of life today is probably true. Whether our life today is better, however, is a subject for debate.
But one thing hasn't changed or been improved upon: the Bible message of the provision for salvation, and the words of Jesus: "I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by me" (John 14:6).