About 2 years ago, I changed garage mechanics. The car I was using had got to the point where hourly maintenance costs at the specialist were just too high. I needed a competent all round spanner guy. A friend recommended one, and I was not disappointed.
Tucked away in a corner of an industrial estate, this one – man band had everything the specialist had, but it seemed less complicated. There were lots of superficial differences. In the specialist workshop you could have eaten your dinner off the floor. In this place, you would have been advised to not eat your dinner anywhere on the premises, and you may have been forgiven for not sitting on the sofa in the office while you waited. The desk was organized chaos. The white buttons on the phone had taken on an oily appearance.
Putting all this aside, the maintenance was faultless, and the dealings were not so much transactional than relational. Every visit was a conversation about just about anything. We were becoming acquainted.
One day, something on the desk caught my attention, because it seemed out of place. It was a Ladybird Book – you remember – those thin, read in 15 minutes series on big grown up things like aircraft, steam trains etc. This was on The Motor Car.
The owner had gone to college, studied engineering, delved into the complexities of mechanics, applied theory of movement, probably did some fluid dynamics and no doubt had to pass quite rigorous exams. Yet, here it was – the Ladybird Book version. It was the only “reference” book on the desk. This got me thinking.
A typical customer who would know nothing about the workings of the car could sit there and have a read, leaving the complexities of what was actually happening to the mechanic – a profound journey of trust. They would only need to get the basics.
As we move through the corporate journey that God has planned for us, where God promises some amazing things – like “ever increasing Glory” and “being built together in love” it strikes me that for those seekers who are drawn by simple hunger to know more of Jesus, we would do well in that moment to get out the Ladybird Book, and leave the complex manuals of agenda, endless theological debate and apologetics on the shelf.
As John Wesley once said in relation to getting swallowed up with books: “An ounce of love is worth a pound of knowledge.”
Let’s never forget the simplicity of the Gospel.