How A Bus Company Changed My Relationship With My Dad
My dad was a bus driver. Through hard work, he eventually became the director of transportation for our school district.
My dad had very little interest in God. Church was not his thing. Growing up, he never had any interest in talking about God. Even after I became a Christian at 15, his response was neutral. That changed one year when I came home from college. My dad grew up in the depression era. As a result, he worked hard and developed a tough persona. And when it came to “church folk”, I don’t think he ever had a positive experience. To him, “religion” was a crutch for the weak and it had no relevance to the real issues of life. Since my dad oversaw the transportation department for our school system, he had the responsibility of buying new school buses. A company based in Georgia invited my dad to visit their manufacturing plant and see how they made buses. The way this company ran their business deeply impacted him. To my knowledge, this was the first time that my dad had been positively impacted by the gospel. (It’s Interesting that it happened in a workplace and not in a in a church service). The business was the Blue Bird Bus Company.[i] You’ve probably seen their buses on the road. On one of my college breaks, I remember walking in the door of my house and the first thing my dad told me was about his experience at the Blue Bird Bus Company. Before he visited their plant, he already had a respect for their product. They made quality buses. But when he walked the factory floor and interacted with the owners, he saw something he had never seen before. He saw authenticity. He saw the Bible being relevant in everyday life. He saw a workplace where owners and managers cared more for their people than for profit. I’d never seen my dad so invigorated about anything spiritual. For a “rough-n-tough” guy he was almost giddy. He was intrigued that at a set time one day a week, the entire plant would shut down for a company chapel service. It wasn’t mandatory but completely open to anyone who wanted to come…and what amazed him even more was that many came! Also, the business would send people from the company to go on mission ventures abroad. They gave my dad a book about the history and values of their company, and he gave me a copy. (It’s the picture at the top of this article). So, what’s the lesson we can learn from the story of my bus driving dad? (It’s not about avoiding church services.) The lesson is RELEVANCE! Every day, we all long for relevance. Relevance is derived from “relating”. We desperately want to see that God “relates” to what I’m facing.
Religious Rules Ruin Relevance
My dad discovered the Gospel had relevance to his life. My dad saw a connection between making buses and God. That’s the power of the gospel…It brings relevance. The Gospel reveals how the ordinary “relates” to extraordinary…how the natural “relates” to the supernatural…how the sinner can “relate” to the sinless One. The next time you see a simple and boxy yellow school bus going down the road, be reminded how God humbled himself to make even the simple and ordinary things of life to have eternal relevance.