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Mechanic 605
As I looked down at the litter of receipts, parts, and tools in my garage, getting ready to fix a variety of different cars, I began to wonder if I over committed. After all, who would give up a long holiday weekend to get dirty and tired by working on other people’s broken stuff—and not charge anything for his time or labor? Seriously, who does that?

September 2014

So there I was, holding a work rag, staring down at the litter of receipts, parts, and tools in my garage. It was already past noon, and I was getting ready to dive under the hood of several different vehicles to do everything from oil changes and tune-ups, to brake jobs and suspension work. As I thought about how long each job would take, I began to second guess myself.

Maybe I overcommitted.

“No problem, I can work on it over Labor Day,” I remember telling everybody. “Sure, I can do that!” “Just bring it over next weekend because I’ll have plenty of time to fix it then.”

While most people were probably enjoying the last gasps of a quickly disappearing summer on Labor Day weekend, taking a break from their labor, I was actively seeking to work, fixing cars. But not my car—other people’s cars.

It all seemed a little odd, even to me, but somehow it felt very natural.

While growing up in a small Midwestern town, I watched my father struggle with the expense and hardship of his trucks and excavating equipment constantly breaking down with the business he owned. Sometimes things just wore out and needed to be replaced. Regardless of how things broke, they needed to get fixed as soon as possible. "Time is money!" He'd say. Good Lord, if he said it once, he said it a million times.

As a small business owner, my dad’s equipment was the lifeblood of his operation. When the trucks weren’t rolling out, income wasn’t coming in. Basically, if you didn’t work, you didn’t eat. In such an environment, I quickly learned the value of taking care of what I owned and fixing whatever I could. Maybe that's why a night seldom went by without my observing dad walking back and forth on the living room floor, praying before going to bed.

Do people even think like that anymore? In today’s throwaway society, there is little regard for do-it-yourselfers. If it breakes, throw it away and get a new one. Car broke? Bring it in to have it fixed. Leaking faucet? Call the one-hour plumber. Little value is placed on doing it ourselves. Sometimes I wonder why we have drifted so far.

As I stood in my garage looking at my nephew’s car, memories of working alongside my father crept back into my mind. I thought about all of the things he taught and imparted to me. He’s been gone more than nine years now, but his influence remains. Take care of what you own. Work hard. Never give up. Help others. And polka dance every chance you get.

Well…four out of five isn’t bad.

My nephew told me a few weeks earlier that he was having some issues with his car. He asked if I could look at it for him. Here was my chance to not only spend a little time with Daniel, but to help and teach him some things about his car. Definitely a win-win. I didn’t think about it twice. “Bring it over Labor Day weekend!” I told him.

The rest of the weekend was more of the same. Other cars from friends and family members provided additional opportunities for me to bless them and make a difference in their lives. After all, transportation is just as vital to our livelihoods today as it was throughout my father's generation. It's a serious thing when someone's family or employment is affected due to a vehicle that is broken down.

So when the last tool was finally put away, my back was a bit stiff, my knees were sore, my arms were filled with scraps, and my fingers were dirty and numb. But the satisfaction I felt and the look of gratitude on the faces of the people I helped made it all worthwhile.

I was able to impart some ability to fix his own vehicle to my nephew Daniel. I was able to get the other vehicles fixed and prepared for the upcoming winter season. But most importantly, I was able to do what I enjoy and be a blessing to others as a result.

Ministry accomplished.

Now to be clear, none of this has anything to do with spending lots of time in my garage, or the fact that I can listen to music or keep looking at my Harley parked in the corner while I work. And even though I get to use really cool things like three-ton jacks, drop-down air hoses, impact wrenches, and other awesome power tools, it really is all about the ministry aspect. I swear.

So who is crazy enough to work on a holiday weekend for this type of action? I guess I am. I do it because I have the ability. I do it because I love to do hard things. I do it because I enjoy helping the people I love. And I do it because it’s what my father would have done.

Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.
Ephesians 4:28, ESV

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go show my son how to install an idle air control valve on his car.

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In His service,

Jeff Litfin

cfaith staff 


Author Biography

Jeff Litfin
Web site:
Jeff Litfin is an actor, spokesperson, writer, and life-long content and communications student who strives to put his optimism to work every day.

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