Auto Shop Wisdom

I remember vividly the day my father taught me an important lesson. I was nineteen. By then, he had been a pastor for over thirty years.

We were at an auto repair shop he frequented. He knew everyone by name, and the mechanics all seemed to know and to like him. No doubt, he had spoken of Christ with them all.

After watching the mechanics for about thirty minutes, I complained to my father about their work, or what appeared to me to be a lack of work. I certainly knew how they should be going about the job, and I was certain my father would agree with me that the job was taking far too long.

But he surprised me with his response. He said, “Let the mechanics do their job. This is what they do.”

His few words have stuck with me, and I have struggled for years now to “let people do their jobs.” Those who work with me know that I have particular ways I like to do things. I am prone to constricting people into my way of getting something done.

Yet my father’s words ring in my mind often. “Let the mechanics (the people you work with) do their jobs. This is what they do.” And so I try. But good advice is like a new song, easier to hear it than to sing it well. Yet when I get the tune right and let people do “what they do,” the blessings are great and the peace is greater. The Scriptures teach:

For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. (Romans 12:3-5)

It is funny what you remember. My father died a little over twenty years ago. He was a godly man and a great leader of men. He taught me many things along the way. Yet perhaps the thing he said to me that I remember most clearly of all and repeat to myself most often is the advice he gave me in an auto repair shop.

Auto shop wisdom. I pray to have it. I pray to pass it on.