Today was my husband's day off and he spent it doing a small car repair job for friends. He had no intention of letting them pay for the labor and they had no intention of letting him do the work for free.
Into this generous mix came two neighborhood boys who both have single moms who have just graduated from college. The boys are polite, sharp and funny - one is fourth grade and one is 6th grade.
These boys like to hang around our house, look up to our son and his friends, and love their video games!! Also they are bored and sometimes they drive me crazy, wanting to talk about things that mean diddly squat to me. So Phil and I talked about the boys and decided that we might as well use this time to not only keep them busy but also get them into some Bible study. I go to Willow Springs several times a week and what better way to keep the guys active and give their moms a bit of a break than to take them along? We figured we could pay to get them in and then we could ask them to memorize two verses a week - starting with their second visit to the water park, they would have to say a memory verse to get past the gate and swim, the memory verse being their "ticket" in....
As I've already indicated, today Phil did an auto repair job for friends - the owners didn't ask him to do it - but he was more than willing. As it happened, the friends are also the owners of Willow Springs. This was the first real day Phil could do the repair and after he got started, he realized they were were absolutely bent on paying him for his labor while he was determined that the labor would be free.
Then, on his trip home to get tools, he said, "I've had an idea. Do you think they would give us a discount on season passes for the boys in return for the labor on the car?" I told him it sounded good to me and that I would ask. But they, of course, did more than that - they gave us the passes for the two boys and would still like to do something else for Phil.
So this afternoon I gathered up the two guys and explained about the Bible-verses-for-swimming deal and told them to discuss it with their moms to see if it was okay. It was and we had our first swim, courtesy of Mr. David and Mrs. LouAnn.
This evening, Phil and I walked across the street and gave each boy a list of Bible verses and a "due date" for each one. The first is due tomorrow: Genesis 1:1 "In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the earth."
After dropping off the list tonight, Phil and I then went for a walk down the street. He was pleased and said, "Cathy, just a day or so ago, I prayed God would use me and now here's an opportunity to help these kids and it just fell into place without me planning it." As he's talking gratefully about the goodness of God, I'm seeing him in my mind's eye as he was earlier: we had just finished swimming and I was herding the boys towards our car to go home. Suddenly I was taken aback to see Phil lying flat out on the pavement, half under the front of a car, soaked in sweat and pulling on some part so hard that he was gritting his teeth. As I saw him pulling with all his strength, I immediately sent up an arrow prayer for his safety. But within minutes, whatever he was doing was finished and he was up on his feet, smiling at us and saying something funny to the boys, apologizing that he couldn't help me much with the inflatables because his hands were black with grease.
I thought about how I would hate to spend my days off from school having to teach - yet Phil never seems to mind helping family and friends with cars on his days off - especially if it involves some type of ministry outreach as Willow Springs does. I thought about how he is willing to work hard and about how many times he's helped fatherless kids in our area with bicycle problems... I thought about how honest he is - people want his opinion on car problems whether he fixes them or not. Finally, I thought about how he had a customer whose car " broke down" on the road because she had made a simple operating mistake.Phil was just relieved the car was okay; when he learned she was rattled because she'd been at the hospital all night, he asked if he could pray for her. She was fine with that so he simply asked God to bring healing to her loved one and to help her get safely home.
I guess some people would call my husband a "grease monkey" but honestly, no one's ever done it to my face and that's a good thing! Simply put.. there's no way that you will ever convince me that God doesn't love hands covered in grease and you might be amazed to know how He uses them!