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What the Auto Repair Shop Taught Me

“Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.” Romans 13:8 (NIV)


At the beginning of the school year, we had to take our car in to get the wheel well welded.  The inner wheel well had rusted away and everyone we called wanted twice as much as one auto body repair shop in town.  When I went down in person to see about the repairs, the owner personally came out and reassured me he had worked on this particular issue on this particular model numerous times and it was a one day job… in and out.  We arranged how we were going to get four drivers where they needed to go with only two cars and were ready to roll.

What began as a one day job turned into a whole week job.  It wasn’t anyone’s fault… problems arise and need to be dealt with.  However, because of this experience, I learned three valuable spiritual lessons.

First, if the repair had gone as planned, I would have paid my bill and not looked back.  I would have appreciated the great service and considered taking my vehicle to them in the future but it would have been a blip on the radar of my life.  However, because of the problems that came up and the way the auto body shop handled those difficulties – full of integrity and character, they have my loyalty as well as my referrals.  Because of the difficulties, I was able to see the type of people they were instead of just having a friendly interaction and moving on.

Second, the difficulties that arose actually bonded us together more.  We had more interaction, more time to get to know each other and it became more than a customer-business relationship.  Not to say we’ve started to invite each other over to one another’s house on the weekends, but if I see them in the store, I’m more apt to say “hi” because of the extra time we spent together than if I had interacted much less through a normal repair.

Third, God gave me an opportunity through this experience to model His example to the repair shop.  I could have gotten upset, I could have thrown a fit or I could have simply accepted that life doesn’t follow a straight line and do my part to model Jesus for others.  If the repairs had gone easily, they might have seen a “friendly person” but they might not have seen a fuller example of Christ.

While nobody enjoys when life doesn’t go as planned, looking back on this situation, I’m glad that there were problems.  It gave me a chance to remember how important it is for others to see Christ in me daily… whether it’s because of rusted out wheel wells that need welded or at the grocery store or whatever the situation.  I want others to see more of Jesus and less of me.  I’m grateful for the lessons I learned from the auto body repair shop… and hope to keep using them often.

© Cheri Swalwell 2017

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