It is not difficult to understand why we are often so frustrated. Take my dishwasher, for example. Some of you will immediately say that having a dishwasher already sets me amongst the richest people in the world. True, it is a wonderful convenience that many in the world never get to experience, but I am talking here about an attempt to get it fixed, the attempt to solve a problem; the attempt to see an issue, communicate with a service provider and end the relationship with the problem solved. It seems like such a simple thing.
We rent a house from a wonderful lady who is extremely responsive to our needs. In an attempt to save money, she signed up for a home warranty that covers the appliances and major systems of the home. About a year and half ago, we had a problem with the dishwasher. It was not properly connected to the cabinets and the front legs would not stay extended. It would literally rock back and forth, and the door would need to twist slightly to close. Over time the door began to fall apart. The service repairman from the warranty company came out to fix the door, but he was not authorized to fix the installation of the dishwasher itself.
Now fast forward to this week when we had a second repairman in to replace the door again. He had been in to see the situation and order the part a week or two earlier. He reiterated what the first repairman had said about the installation. He told us that he would order brackets to fix the problem, despite the fact that his company does not handle installations. His common sense approach was thwarted by a company supply system that only provided one of the brackets that he ordered. He was kind enough to leave the one bracket, but the dishwasher was still not connected to the cabinets, leaving us with a brand new door, a dishwasher that rocks and moves and an unresolved issue.
I will go out on a limb and say that the situation as described probably brings out two primary reactions.
You get my frustration and long for the day when you can resolve issues that really do have a solution with ease and alacrity.
You are asking yourself, “What is wrong with him? Why didn’t he just get someone to reinstall the dishwasher? Problem solved.” (I should add at this point that our landlady did ask us to have the company install the dishwasher properly and she would pay them, but the company refused.)
My frustration comes not from the actual issue, but from the company’s lack of service and care. I cut my teeth in the business world for over 20 years. I understand the constraints imposed by business models. But when your employees realize that the service provided does not really fix the issue at hand, then your business model is broken. You are making money, but offering nothing in return, or you are making repeated visits for solvable problems and not making money. Perhaps the greatest frustration is the fact that these problems have solutions where often the areas we as Christians serve have none beyond dignity issues and presence.
We cannot allow our Christian service to follow the same path. Many times, services are available where there is government money, but areas of concern lacking funding go unserved despite the great need.
At The Community Chaplain, we have identified needs in medical institutions, long-term care facilities and the community at large where people need spiritual help, but no financial reimbursement is available. As a large portion of the population continues to live longer and funds for services are being earmarked for elimination, opportunities for ministry will sky-rocket.
We are seeking partners who feel called by God to serve the people, with their time, talents and sometimes, their money. We will continue to seek imaginative ways to make a living without allowing personal needs to alter our obedience to the Father’s will, but as I was reminded this morning, if someone feels a need to support us, we should cheerfully accept. Our first donor scolded me by saying, “If I want to give you money, why won’t you accept it? Don’t take this away from me.”
So God sent a rowboat, and thanks to this generous child of God, I learned to accept the ride to our next destination.