REV3 = Revitalize, Energize, Visualize

By Evangelism, Discipleship, and Shepherding

Recycling in the Automotive Field

On one of my trips to the local car junk yard, I took my youngest son. We found the section of vehicles similar to ours for which we were looking for parts. He surprisingly noted, “Dad these cars are in better shape than ours.” To emphasize the point, at most auto salvage yards you can find cars which have been deemed too good to dismantle. These can be purchased with the prospect of being restored to viable use for the “do it yourself” savvy individual. My son’s observation could have been taken several ways. It became obvious that I was not driving the nicest looking car in this lot. I did not dwell on that thought and was thankful to acquire nice used parts for our running vehicle. I responded to him, “the reason they looked better was that the major issue that brought the cars here was not because they were visually unpleasing, but instead malfunctioned in one of these three primary elements: spark, fuel delivery, or transmission.” Yes, another mention of three primary elements needed in our world.

Now, I am going to expound on what I’ve learned from working in the automotive field almost all my life. Maybe this will help you practically as we continue looking at the organic church. Proverbs 18:15 states, “An intelligent heart acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.” Continuing with an important element, price is the driving force for the vehicle owner to buy used parts rather than at a local automotive parts retailer. If the part is available at an after-market general retailer, the prices may be affordable, but if a trip to a dealer is needed, the wallet may look anorexic post-purchase. Hence the acquisition made at a local salvage yard can be a good choice for the rejuvenation of any vehicle from a cost perspective. Not all parts should be purchased at these locations depending on their function. Going with an experienced buyer of used parts is advisable. Proverbs 19:20, “Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future.”

A salvage yard for vehicles is a combination of refined basic elements from the periodic table (metals) and man-made compounds (plastics and other synthetics). The church is also composed of refined and unrefined, yet all redeemed individuals whom Jesus loves. Does it feel like your church is in a salvage yard? As I explained earlier, the refined elements don’t usually pose a threat to ecology because they are not only found on the periodic table but also make up some of the components of the human body. They can be reused. There are obviously ecological effects in recycling them, but in the end they do not have to add additional peaks to the mountains of waste we create.

In your church, are there attendees who pose a threat to the health of your congregation due to their sin? Did someone come to mind? Are they sinning, and if so how? If you care about them, you need to speak directly to them for the purpose of restoring them in love. Matthew 18 shares about how even the caring Shepherd goes after the lost one so it won’t perish. The Lord is gracious in forgiving us of our debts while He draws us close because of His love, so we should also bring in the church family that has been roaming away.

Even man-made products which are more harmful to the environment, if they are contained and reused such as old oil from the vehicles, have found salvation in their collection. A responsible auto recycler will take steps not to contaminate the soil if proper precautions are in place. These ecological efforts do spend time and resources, but we in our haste to satisfy the elusive American dream are willing to become slaves to our own inventions because of the perceived comfort they provide; yet, we remain unaware of the effects of our convenience has had in creating hardships on our environment and eventually for ourselves. The price we pay is not only seen in the vehicles we purchase but possibly more ominous in byproduct businesses human actions have spawned. Sanford & Son1 is no longer a poor man’s attempt at making a living.

With money being generated from the auto recycling business, jobs are created and we overlook the neglect of the critical first step to reduce. The auto recycling business has boomed to an estimated annual revenue of $22 billion dollars a year2; 4.7 million vehicles3 pass through our recycling yards annually. This reclaim process produces enough steel for 13 million new vehicles4. Do we need that many new vehicles a year? There are associations and lobbyists who work specifically with governments related to this byproduct industry. What drives this appetite? Will it slow down or consume our lives and resources more? How did we get to this point that our waste has become such an economic workhorse5?

The sheer size of the auto recycling business shows the magnitude of the second step “reuse”, but it does not help fulfill the first step of the recycling mantra “reduce”. In fact, it proves the need to pay attention to this step. This same observation can be made in the church’s application of the three basic elements (evangelism, discipleship, and shepherding). If one eclipses another, the size of one element may appear to be commendable but its disproportion may bury signs of detriment to the other element. This past summer in one conversation with a church attendee, they praised their church as a “disciple-making church”. “That’s great!” I thought, then I asked how the members of that church were spreading the gospel and if they were encouraged to do that personally. I paraphrase their response, “not so much”. The discipling element in this case, although overemphasized, is incomplete because questions arise about the application of the shepherding component. How imbalanced does the church have to become before it is obvious that it is a problem that needs our attention?

1 (1972, January 14). Sanford and son. IMDb. Retrieved May 9, 2022, from
2 “Why Car Recycling Is One of the Best Ways to Live Eco-Friendly.” Wheels For Wishes, Accessed 7 Mar. 2024.
3 Recyclingtoday.Com, Accessed 7 Mar. 2024.
4 “About Us: Automotive Recyclers Association.” Automotive Recyclers Association, Accessed 7 Mar. 2024.
5 “About Us: Automotive Recyclers Association.” Automotive Recyclers Association, Accessed 7 Mar. 2024.

Author: Wilf Scheuermann, excerpt from the transcript God’s Grade ©2015; Photo by Tom Fisk:

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