The security system in my car has been fritzed ever since my accident; the dumb thing would go off just sitting there, with no one touching it. I had to leave it unlocked at all times to avoid being a nuisance — not exactly what a security system is meant to accomplish.
So we took my car to our local favorite auto shop, Long’s Auto Repair. Long and his employees are mostly all Vietnamese (they recently hired a token whitey) who do excellent work. Long’s first crack at my security system didn’t work, so we took it back. Today I went to pick it up. And while I stood there waiting, this is what I saw:
A young fellow who looked like Long’s son interacted with everybody who came. It didn’t matter if they came for repairs or just to get gas. It didn’t matter if they were white, black, or asian. It didn’t matter if they were regulars or just passing through. He went over and started talking with each person, smiling, laughing, and having fun. Long’s Auto Repair is a social center of the neighborhood. I spoke with one guy who was clearly a regular; he said, “Long’s a friend. He treats me right.”
I watched, amazed. Then the thought struck me:
What if an enterprising follower of Jesus started a gas stand & auto repair shop as a missional venture, a mission outpost? Why not? It would look a lot like what I saw today. Why do missionaries have to look so, well, churchy? Why not recognize that God may be calling somebody to be an auto mechanic for the sake of the kingdom of God? In the eyes of normal, unchurched people, it would serve a legitimate purpose in the neighborhood, as opposed to churchy churches — dare I say that? And where is the church, or community of faith, that would be willing to recognize such an auto mechanic as a missionary, support him or her in this effort, and partner together?