“Just an oil change!” I said to the attendant while sitting back in the comfort of my Volvo wagon, Bible propped on the steering wheel, enjoying a few minutes of rest as the mechanics did their thing in the underground cavern beneath my car.
“It’s recommended that you change the drain plug,” Mechanic #1 interrupted, sticking his head in the driver’s side window. “Would you like me to put in another one?”
“Uh, no thank-you,” I said and went back to reading the judgment passages in Ezekiel.
He came back again. “It’s recommended that you get a radiator flush; you’re due, sir.”
I politely declined.
A few moments later: “Would you like to consider a differential fluid change?” This went on a couple more times until I gave in. Another Mechanic showed up. “Sir! Would you like me to change your wiper blades?”
“How much is it?”
“Okay. Do it, please.”
The oil change was nearly finished when Mechanic #1 came beside my window. “So you want the blades changed? That will be $23.08.”
“Wait a minute!” I was told that it was $11.54.” Both mechanics had already taken off the wiper blades.
“No, no, sir. That’s per blade.” He started to ring up the transaction.
“But the other guy told me it was $11.54! I’ll pay $11.54.”
“He’s new and he made a mistake. It will be $23.08.”
“In that case, I don’t want the blades. I can get them cheaper at an auto parts place. Y’ know… you really should let me have them at the cheaper rate. That is what I was quoted.”
“No sir. That would be immoral—and wrong,” he said staring into the computer as he changed the billing.
I was bugged. By golly, I had my rights and I’m the customer and the customer is always right. Didn’t this young punk know this? “Immoral? Why is it immoral?” I asked, irritated.
“Because it is; it would be immoral—and wrong.”
I wanted to insist! I wanted to get out of my car, puff up my chest and, and, shove it into his. I wanted to start my car, rev the engine real loud, and squeal my tires as I threw the payment in his face.
But I didn’t.
In all humility I blurted out, “I’m a pastor and I know about these ethical dilemmas,” or something lame like that. “But I’m gonna forget it because the guy’s new.” What an idiot I am. I just blew that witness.
The new guy came over and apologized. I told him it was no big deal and not to worry.
Then I asked him, “If you were to die today, would you go to Heaven or Hell?”
“Probably Hell because I’ve done a lot of bad things.”
We talked about his violation of God’s Law, Judgment Day and Hell; he was interested in knowing how to be saved from eternal punishment. I had the pleasure of telling him about the Savior. Then I invited him to church.
“I was gonna go last weekend to church,” he said, “but I backed out at the last minute.” I encouraged him to visit and hoped he didn’t hear my conversation with Mechanic #1.
I experienced a host of mixed feelings when I handed over my American Express card and paid my bill: Did I get in the flesh when I argued about the “morality” of the situation. How good an example was I? Did they think that I was just another stereotypical poseur, one of those fake-Christians who “asked Jesus into their heart,” but bear no fruit?
What would Jesus have done if he pulled in with His Volkswagon?
I drove away from the oil change place wiper-less, and thankful that God still continues to use immoral guys.