Now here is a funny story that has caused me to think some.
Right in my driveway, the starter of our van stopped working. My neighbour, who is an expert electrician and who worked for GE for 22 years, said, “Let’s take it apart and we’ll see what’s wrong. I can probably save you 150 dollars or more. After all, it isn’t cheap to get this fixed yourself.”
Bill was right. It would cost me 50.00 dollars just to tow the van to the mechanic’s. After that, it would likely cost another 150 to 250 dollars in labor and parts to “fix” the thing. Bill was a nice guy. I would take a look at it. I felt kind of good. This would “work out” just fine.
Bill helped me to jack up the van and get the starter disconnected from the van. I was grateful for Bill’s help. He really knew what he was doing. Because of his own confidence and knowledge in the matter, I was influenced to “keep on going” … it would all work out (apart from his help, I’m not sure if I would have ventured to do this, although I have done some electro-mechanical work on occasion). Soon, with Bill’s help, I had the starter off.
We looked at it, and, sure enough, the only problem with the starter was that it needed two new electrical brushes that make contact with the motor armature — the part that turns.
“You’re lucky!” Bill exclaimed. “It’s not the armature! That would have cost you a bundle! It looks like you only need two new brushes.”
I felt relieved, and grateful that Bill had helped me out. Who wanted to spend needless money? With Bill’s help, I would save perhaps 200 dollars or more! I was proud. Money was everything.
The next day, I was able to get the new part that was needed — a small assembly containing the two new brushes. It cost me the great sum of $5.00 Canadian (about $3.50 US). Was I smiling! Five bucks to fix that motor! I was laughing …
I got back home and just “couldn’t wait” to get the two new brushes installed. Soon, I had the thing back together. I applied some electricity before connecting it up to the engine, just to “make sure” that everything would work out okay. “Zap”, the spark went. Hum. It didn’t seem to work.
I was kind of scared that something was wrong, so, instead of keeping the electricity applied (and risk burning something inside), I decided to open the motor back up again. I guess at that point I should have realized that “something was wrong … the guy to contact is … Bill (next door)!” But Bill was out, having just left for his music lessons. He wouldn’t be back for perhaps and hour or two, and I “just couldn’t wait.”
I took the motor apart again, and looked at everything carefully.
“Phew,” I thought to myself. “Nothing is burned. It looks okay. I guess I had just better put that thing back together again and see if it works.” This time, however, I forgot to insert a very small piece of metal that separates the critical copper winding of the armature from the rest of the assembly. I didn’t notice.
Soon, I applied the electricity again.
“Zoom!” went the motor. “Wow, that thing is flying!” I said to myself. “She looks like she’s really working fine, now! Great! I’m on the r-i-g-h-t track!” I thought to myself proudly. But I was wrong. Something was d-r-a-s-t-i-c-a-l-l-y wrong! Everytime the motor went “zoom”, the precious copper winding of the armature (the expensive part, that Bill said I was “lucky” wasn’t damaged) was being ground away to dust!
I didn’t realize anything was wrong, until I glanced down and noticed the small metal separator — the part that was supposed to be inside the motor — lying there where it shouldn’t have been! I thought to myself, “Oh no! Quickly, I’ve got to open this thing up and see if it’s okay!” I thought it was. After all, it had sounded so “good” when is was “zooming”. But I was wrong. Dead wrong.
I opened it up and the once “very good” armature was all broken apart — no longer usable and “toast” as far as any future productivity was concerned. It would have to be scrapped.
“I wonder if the Lord is somehow speaking to me through this,” I thought to myself, “that money isn’t everything.”
I have since ordered a brand new armature for about $60.00 (+ tax) and am not worried about it. This is the Lord’s business. But I do think he was trying to teach me a lesson. “Don’t be so proud about your accomplishments. They can turn to toast in a day … if you’re not careful!”