Mechanic Bob versus ‘Mr. Dirt’

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By Dave Henning / February 18, 2019

Southwest Tire Center owner/mechanic Bob and wife at our wedding in February, 1980.

“You can no more trust Jesus and not intend to obey him than you could trust your doctor and your auto mechanic and not follow their advice.  If you don’t intend to follow their advice, you simply don’t trust them.  Period.”- Dallas Willard

“So, do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.  You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.”- Hebrews 10:35-36 (NIV)

Beginning in 1966, Mobil promoted its regular and premium fuels as ‘detergent gasolines.’  Mobil designed the additives to rid engines and carburetors of the dreaded ‘Mr. Dirt.’  So, after I purchased my first car, a 1968 Ford Fairlane 2-door in 1973,  I wanted no part of ‘Mr. Dirt’ in my engine!

Consequently, I located the nearest Mobil station, Southwest Tire Center, at the corner of 81st and Kedzie in Chicago – about two miles from home.  The station, operated by proprietors Bob and Frank, in short order became my go-to place for gas, tires, and service.  I quickly learned to trust them to accurately diagnose and then repair my Ford at a fair price.  In addition, during the OPEC oil embargo of 1973-74,  Bob routinely allotted me twice the advertised gas limit, since I was a regular customer.

Naturally, when I met Vicki in 1977 and she needed her aging Rambler repaired, I encouraged her to join the Southwest family.  Thus, it made perfect sense to invite a special extended family guest to our wedding – Mechanic Bob!

Day after day, year after year, Bob plied his trade at Southwest Tire Center.  He pumped gas, cleaned windshields, checked the oil, serviced cars, and gave rides home when necessary.  As he honored his calling, increasing customer confidence followed.  Writing in All In (2013), Mark Batterson exhorts:

“Going all out for God is not just about getting where God wants you to go.  It’s about who you become in the process.  And it’s not about how quickly you get there.  It’s about how far you go.  Going all out is going the distance.”

You, too, desire to make a difference.  Therefore, you want to make more than a living.  You want to make a life.  But, have you reached the point in your ministry downsizing or position loss where you feel enough is enough?  As Pastor Batterson acknowledges, you can’t continue on the path you’re on.  Because it’s a dead end relationally, physically, or spiritually.  And, you realize, that journey will eat you alive.

However, Mark stresses, there’s good news.  A totally different life awaits – and it’s only one decision away.  Plus, in God’s kingdom, the litmus test of God’s calling consists of availability and teachability, not experience or expertise.  In fact, Mark asserts, at this very moment God’s cultivating talents in you to serve His kingdom purpose in ways you’re currently unaware of.

In conclusion, Mark counsels to proceed with confidence and courage:

“Courage doesn’t wait until situational factors turn in your favor.  It doesn’t wait until a plan is perfectly formed.  It doesn’t wait until the tide of popular opinion is turned.  Courage only waits for one thing: a green light.  And when God gives the go, it’s full steam ahead, no questions asked.”

About the author

    Dave Henning


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