I took my car to the dealership for an oil change. I never do that. I usually use the quick oil change garages. I figured the dealer knew best and had the correct factory filter for the car.
The morning after the oil change, I decided to sleep in. Normally, I leave at 5:45 before the sun has risen. Instead, I stepped out my door at 8 a.m. When I walked out to the car, the driveway was wet. I couldn’t understand why there was fluid on the right side of the car. I wondered why my wife had gone out so early with the car and the air conditioner had left so much water on the driveway. I bent over to touch it, assuming it was water. It wasn’t. It was slippery. I looked under the car. It was oil, coming from the oil pan.
The dealership offered to tow the car and get the matter addressed. I called a friend to drive me to work. My friend doesn’t like this dealership. She smiled with glee that they had to pay for the tow, a second oil change and the cleanup of my driveway. They assigned a team member to pressure wash my driveway. He was at my house for two days.
The oil spill was the result of a defective oil filter gasket. They replaced the filter, topped off the oil and away I drove.
Yes, my friend was correct that the transaction was difficult. They didn’t do what they said they would do. I kept reminding my friend that no one deserves to be punished.
Later that day, I was listening to a radio program on marriage. The husband had committed adultery. They didn’t divorce. While she was working through her feelings, she was angry at him. She didn’t want to forgive him. When God nudged her to love him, she replied that he wasn’t that lovable. God reminded her she wasn’t always lovable either.
The dealership isn’t lovable. The sale experience was less than pleasant. They promised one thing and delivered another. They twisted around the numbers. We were promised one trim level but got a lesser trim level. For me to smile with glee that they now suffered an economic loss due to a faulty oil filter gasket speaks very little of me. As that radio show said, “Sometimes Tony you’re not always lovable either.”
Healthy relationships are not quid pro quo. If you do this, I will do that. If you’re good to me, I will be good to you. That is so different than the grace of God where I’m not good and He still lavishes His love on me.
When I picked up the car, I could have snapped at the service manager for disrupting my day with their incompetence. I could go on Facebook and tell the world what a horrible place they were. What would Jesus do?
I thanked her for taking care of my car and my driveway. Without having to put up her defenses, I learned her story. Everyone has one. It gave her a chance to tell me about her life.
I don’t understand all the ways God works. Yes, that morning the oil spill was a disruption to my schedule. Being friendly to the service manager gave me a chance to minister to someone whom I may never have met had the oil filter been functional. It also reminded me that with the judgement I administer I will be judged the same. I don’t need that in my life.
I’ll be back in two weeks. Until then, live well my friend.
The Rev. Tony Marciano is executive director of the Charlotte Rescue Mission. He is available to speak to your group. Visit www.charlotterescuemission.org.