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Lessons from a Leak

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We all can point to a time or event that changed the direction of our lives. One of those events happened to me more than 40 years ago. It was early in my walk with Jesus.

As a young engineer I was employed by the Maytag Company. I worked in the manufacturing plant in Iowa, and our goal was to build washing machines that would give peak performance for more than 25 years. The product, the brand and the company had a great reputation, and my charge was to make sure it stayed that way.

One day I was informed of a major problem in the die-casting department, which was my area of responsibility. A high percentage of the aluminum gear housings for automatic washers did not pass inspection because of pinhole leaks. It was costly and a production nightmare to have “leakers.” I was sent to the production line with instructions to “fix the problem!” I had no idea why the gear housings were leaking and couldn’t see any solution. As I went to the die-casting area, I felt inadequate and unprepared. Later, I realized that God had orchestrated this situation to teach me two significant truths that would alter my life forever.

The first truth I learned was about prayer. After observing the manufacturing process and calculating the possible causes, I still had no solution. I couldn’t explain why the leaks persisted. At the end of my resources, I turned to the Lord and gave the problem to Him. Without any tangible changes or explanation, the leaks were reduced to a small and manageable percentage. God answered my prayer! My supervisors thought I was a hero, but I knew the real champion was God. I learned the practical application of Paul’s words, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:6–7).

But God didn’t stop there. He had more to show me. As I stood with my clipboard in hand and watched my coworker produce castings, the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart. His question was clear—and so was my answer. He asked me if I wanted to give my life to washing machines that are temporary—or to people, who are eternal. I still remember the comparison: washers have a 25+ lifespan while people live forever—but will they spend eternity with Christ?

The comparison was glaring. I loved my job at Maytag, but I couldn’t escape the contrast in the questions. I would later decide, with my wife’s agreement, to invest full time in people and their eternal destiny. Not long after that incident I resigned from Maytag and moved to Crown College with my family to build a foundation for vocational ministry. I’ve never had second thoughts and never looked back—except to thank God for life-changing experiences and His faithfulness.

I’m thankful that God uses everyday situations to direct us. One of our core values states, Achieving God’s purposes involves taking faith-filled risks. This always involves change. For me, achieving God’s purposes meant a radical change in in my life’s direction. I trust you are listening for the voice of the Holy Spirit—even in your daily routine. And that you’re ready to take a risk to fulfill His purposes.

Alliance Core Values

  • Lost people matter to God. He wants them found. Luke 19:10
  • Prayer is the primary work of God’s people. Phil. 4:6–7
  • Everything we have belongs to God. We are His stewards. 1 Chron. 29:14
  • Knowing and obeying God’s Word is fundamental to all true success. Josh. 1:8
  • Completing the Great Commission will require the mobilization of every fully devoted disciple. Matt. 28:19
  • Without the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, we can accomplish nothing. 1 Cor. 2:4–5
  • Achieving God’s purposes means taking faith-filled risks. This always involves change. Heb. 11:6

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