My dad retired from General Motors. He was working at a new modern facility when he retired but a lot of his career took place in the old plant in St. Louis. Sometime, back in the seventies there was some kind of an open house there in the factory and dad took me to check it out. It was the only time I ever visited the place where dad worked.
I didn’t get to see the Corvettes being made because the factory had already been moved from St. Louis to Bowling Green, Kentucky. Dad said I would have just been all itchy anyway because the fiberglass the bodies are made of got on you just walking in the area they were built in.
I did get to see how the trucks went together. The plant was the biggest place I had ever been in. Dad took me around to the shop he worked in and then we walked a few miles (at least it seemed like a few miles) and he introduced me to about a million guys (or forty). Then, he finally took me to some places where I could see the trucks being assembled.
It was an impressive thing. Truck bodies were coming down from somewhere up above and landing on a chassis that had been moving along the line below with perfect timing. Each man in the assembly line was doing his job effortlessly and the truck never stopped moving as it went on the next man in line. I had never seen anything like it before and of all the places I have worked I have not seen anything so complex being assembled by so many. Every single guy had to do his part on every truck every time or somebody would buy a defective product. It was amazing.
The one guy I remember the most clearly was the guy closing the truck doors near the end of the line. The trucks looked done and ready to drive but the doors usually wouldn’t close. It seems each body was slightly different and each door was slightly different back in those days. This guy would gently close the door and open it while the truck was moving. Then he would decide what kind of adjustment it needed.
He would put a mallet or a block at some point in the door opening and then he would SLAM the door. The door would bounce violently back off of the obstacle in its path. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I thought that he had just ruined a brand new Chevy truck! But then the man that had so roughly abused that brand new door would softly close it and it would click closed just like the door on a brand new truck ought to. I had to watch it over and over and the man performed this task flawlessly every time.
It isn’t easy to make something with so many components go together and be ready to go when it heads out the door. It takes a lot. A person working on that line can’t start thinking he is the most important one there. His job is worthless if the next guy in line doesn’t do his. A person in that line also cannot think that his job is unimportant. Everyone has to do their part or the results will be incomplete. Some defects are noticed immediately and some may take years to show up.
It may seem pretty obvious to you where I am going with this line of thinking. I can see now that I would let opportunities pass me by while I watched others to make sure they were doing their job. Then I had the nerve to criticize them.
In the meantime, someone out there is walking around missing something. I was supposed to bring something good into their life and I didn’t. Once I become a part of God’s family I am put on the line. I am not on a tour through the Kingdom of God to watch the old pros do their thing. I am right there with them doing the job that God has for me to do.
1 Corinthians 12:26 If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad.
Now, just a brief word about getting my doors slammed. I do not like it one bit. Having my doors slammed on an obstacle placed there to make them not close hurts. It seems I would rather go through life with parts of me that don’t work right. Sometimes things have to happen that seem like they are going to destroy me to make me function like I was designed to. That is a hard thing to learn. I have to trust God that I am being made complete by these things.
James 1:2 Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.
I know it is easier said than done. That’s why I have to be in God’s Word every single day. I don’t want to wimp out and miss out on more of God’s perfection in me. It is harder to live without what the trials bring into my life than to live through the trials.