Yesterday evening as I was driving our car gently down Colchester High Street towards church we heard a loud ‘thump’ from the rear of the car. It sounded like I had driven over something, but there was nothing in the mirrors. As I drove on there was a knocking sound from the back of the car that had not been there before. Cue worried face. Having only recently bought the car I was worried that something serious (and expensive) had gone wrong, and that I would be without the car for several important activities this week.
The knocking was only occasional, when I went over bumps (even gently) but it was not going away. So last night I went online and searched for answers about what it could be. There were several discussion forums in which that problem was described and all the solutions sounded very expensive and quite serious.
This morning as I was driving (gently) to go to take some school assemblies I had a brainwave. I remembered that Sally’s car had had a similar knocking noise a while ago and it had been one of the rubber mounts that hold the exhaust onto the car which had perished. I took the car to our local, friendly, trustworthy garage and asked the nice man there whether he could have a look.
There was no sucking of air through his teeth, no checking of worksheets and calling, “Dave, when could we fit this in?” The nice man simply took the keys and said he would have a look.
A few minutes later he was back, confirming my diagnosis and saying that as it was a quick job they could do it then and there. There are some video cameras in the waiting room, showing the workshop, and I noticed the nice man hop onto a bicycle and disappear out of shot, only to return a few minutes later. He had cycled around to the spares shop to get the part!
Just a few minutes later and the car was finished. The labour cost was very cheap and the part even cheaper. Excellent. I left as a happy customer.
I don’t do commercial endorsements on the blog but if you live in the Colchester area and want to know of a reliable garage with great customer service, let me know.
So, wouldn’t it be brilliant if people came away from our churches with that same feeling? I had a chat with someone at our church yesterday who had come for the first time and complained that the service was too interesting and not at all like the boring stereotype that had kept him away before. I think that was a backhanded compliment!
Wouldn’t it be brilliant if people came away from encounters with us at work, leisure, home or wherever they meet us and have the same feeling: having been blessed by a free sample of Jesus?
How do we do that? It’s not something we can generate ourselves. We need to ask, allow and assist God’s Spirit to bear his fruit in our lives and in our churches. How’s that for a church growth strategy: being a church of people who are bearing spiritual fruit.
Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, self-control. Who wouldn’t be attracted by people who are like that? This is not a charter for niceness. It’s a mandate for mission – being free samples of the One in whom and on whom and through whom this spiritual fruit grew and grows in abundance.
Yes please God.
Be blessed, be a blessing.
A 4-year-old boy was asked to say a prayer of thanks before Christmas dinner. The family members bowed their heads in expectation. He began his prayer, thanking God for all his friends, naming them one by one. Then he thanked God for Mummy, Daddy, brother, sister, Grandma, Grandpa, and all his aunts and uncles. Then he began to thank God for the food. He gave thanks for the turkey, the dressing, the cranberry sauce, the pies, the Yorkshire Pudding, even the gravy.
Then he paused, and everyone waited–and waited. After a long silence, the young fellow looked up at his mother and asked, “If I thank God for the brussels sprouts won’t he know that I’m lying?”