I disdained my job at BMW (the German car manufacturer, or as we say down here, Bubba Makes Wheels). We have a plant in my town. Ironically, the money I made during those five years (1995-2000) is what enabled us (from a human perspective) to have our current ministry; we were able to be nearly debt-free.
The job was hard, and I was a regular complainer to God about the hardships. I had two Bible degrees, which led me to a production job on an assembly line. (The things they don’t tell you in Bible college.) It was evident to me that God did not want me to be there, so I let Him know my perspective regularly.
One day, I was going through my “grumbling to God routine.” The Lord, not agreeing with my perspective, said, “Once you stop grumbling, you should look around and see all the ministry you could do in this place.”
Gee, whiz, Lord. I think I’ll do that.
Besides Women and Children
And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children. – Matthew 14:21
He further reminded me of the feeding of the 5000 where it said, “There were 5000 men, not counting the women or the children.” God wanted me to know that if you added all the spouses, children, and relatives to the 2000 BMW employees, I could impact a lot of lives for His fame.
I began to think how impacting these employees would spread to their families and communities.
Okay, Lord, I repent. I’ll stop grumbling about this awful job.
The next day, I found a Bible study that some folks were doing during lunch. I joined them. In two weeks, I was leading it. From there, a series of other events transpired. Many missional opportunities.
I started making hospital visits. We began another Bible study so more folks could attend. We took up collections for a local family. We ended up on two TV news programs and newspapers. Eventually, I submitted a proposal to become the BMW corporate chaplain. They rejected my offer, but told me on the side,
We can’t let you be the chaplain because if we do, the atheists and other groups will want their chaplains. But we don’t want you to stop what you’re doing. You’re having a positive effect on the employees.
I decided to submit another version of my proposal to my local church. They loved it and hired me part-time, asking me to build a counseling ministry. What I did not know is that they had been praying for a counseling ministry at their church. They also paid for my MA Biblical Counseling degree.
Just Stop It
Once I repented of my grumbling, clarity came, e.g., I started and finished my MABC on the BMW production line. I’ve always said that “BMW is a vehicle” in that it takes you from point A to point B. The Lord used that miserable job to get my heart realigned to His higher purposes. And through that awful job, BMW took me to this fantastic ministry.
Like an eagle that stirs up its nest, that flutters over its young, spreading out its wings, catching them, bearing them on its pinions. – Deuteronomy 32:11
Sometimes the Lord stirs up your nest because He wants to teach you how to fly (Isaiah 40:31). In typical human fashion, we begin this process by complaining about the Lord’s “nest stirring.”
Imagine what might happen if you stopped complaining and started exploring what the Lord may be up to in your life. For me, it began when I looked across the production plant floor at BMW and saw 2000 employees, “not counting the women and the children.”