Mechanics have acquired a certain reputation. Maybe well earned, maybe not. I learned a lot from my time working at a truck stop in my late teens and early twenties. When I first started I didn’t know how to grease the knuckles of a drive shaft. I laugh now, but then it was quite embarrassing. I squeezed grease on the knuckle and never connected the grease gun to the grease fitting. I’ve learned a lot since then (and still have a lot to learn). Having replaced head gaskets, timing chains and bearings, it’s understood that if something goes wrong with our vehicles I’m the one to fix it.
But something seems to go hand in hand with working in a garage. You know what I’m talking about. The atmosphere which includes blood and sweat, exhaust, grease and oil. How should a christian work on his car? Here are five practices that I think christian men should consider when working on their vehicle.
- Pray before tinkering. I know it’s practically unheard of to pray before working on your vehicle. Consider how important it is to work on a vehicle. Every bolt you turn potentially endangers a life, potentially cost you a lot of money or potentially takes up a lot of your time. Your job as either a professional mechanic or a shade tree mechanic is important. So take it seriously. Consider James 1:5, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all [men] liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” Also remember God is not limited to taking care of your spiritual needs. God can fix your car before you even start working and God can give you earthly wisdom. I have had several times when I couldn’t get a bolt loose or figure out an issue. I was at “wits end”. Then I prayed and the bolt loosened or I had a sudden idea that worked.
- Know God is sovereign. It is so important to remember this. Maybe you have a flat tire on the way to church. Or in our case on the way to a Missions Meeting. Maybe the alternator goes out when you are 400 miles from home. Who knows where you are going, for what purpose you are traveling, or why the vehicle is breaking down now? God does. God knows and is not surprised even though you are. God knows all that is going on in your life and very likely has planned it for a great purpose. What does Proverbs 16:9 tell us about God? “A man's heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.”
- Work with someone. Working with someone is great opportunity for you to develop your relationship with someone. It’s an opportunity to share an experience with a friend, but also to share the gospel. Maybe you work with your son, a fatherless teen in your church or community or another man in your church that is unaware of mechanics. Either way you are able to apply the 2 Timothy 2:2 principle, “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” When you work with others you also get extra counsel and an opportunity to fellowship with other believers.
- Be kind. This can be difficult, at least for me. I’m sure you can relate. Whether it’s you’re in a tight position and your wife comes and talks to you causing to drop the bolt you have spent the last 10 minutes trying to get started, or the part guy that is being uncooperative, or you’ve just “busted” your knuckles: please be kind. It’s difficult. There are times I’ve gotten frustrated and angry with tools, parts, my wife, the parts guy and God. Maybe we yell, throw a tool, or curse. Be kind to those who are around you. You have an opportunity to be a tremendous testimony to others about the good work God is doing in you. “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.” - Ephesians 4:32
- Hang up Christian paraphernalia on your walls. I know. It’s cheesy. But consider how much time you spend in your garage. Put bible verses, inspiring lyrics or prayer cards on your garage walls. While there are moments where working in the garage requires your utmost attention there are other times where you are doing something mundane where you could pray or think about things that edify. Maybe it’s while you are cleaning the garage, waiting for the engine to warm up or cool down or starting the bolts for your 15 bolt transmission pan. Regardless use this time to glorify God. After all think about Philipians 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things [are] honest, whatsoever things [are] just, whatsoever things [are] pure, whatsoever things [are] lovely, whatsoever things [are] of good report; if [there be] any virtue, and if [there be] any praise, think on these things.”
What practices have you implemented or tried to implement in the garage?