When I came to Charlotte 25 years ago, we invited my widowed mother to move in with us. We built a home with a full in-law suite. The developer used a local family-owned contractor to install the HVAC system. I had them perform its maintenance. I appreciated their responsiveness to my calls.
Twelve years later, the system stopped working. The owner’s son came out and looked at it. Most HVAC systems only last 12 years. He could have said it had seen its useful life. Instead, he pointed out that a bug crawled into a switch and got “zapped.” I asked how much the switch was. It was $400. The system continues to run another 12 years.
When the system reached 24 years old, I knew it was time to replace it. I spoke to the owner’s son and he came out to the house to look at the unit. He called back and gave me a quote for a new system. We agreed on the unit and the price. I asked if he was going to send me a quote that I could sign. He said, “No. I’ve been working with you so many years. We don’t need that.”
The price he quoted included tax, permits, etc. A few days later, his crew arrived and installed the unit. I was expecting them to give me the bill so I could pay them. No bill. The owner’s son arrived a few days later for a final inspection. I asked for the bill. He said the office was mailing it to me. Still, no bill. Finally, the bill arrived. It was in the exact amount he originally quoted me.
This deal was based on the reputation of both of our words. There was no email, no text, no voicemails from me accepting the price. Our conversation was over the phone, voice to voice. He quoted me a price for a new HVAC system which I accepted. I saw no paperwork or model information. I had worked with him for 24 years and knew his word was good. I trusted that the unit would do what I needed it to do.
He also trusted me. I could have accepted this quote and then said I thought it was lower than that and argued with him over the price of the unit. I offered to give him a deposit and he declined. The work was done because of 24 years of working with me and knowing that I always paid my bills fully and on time.
This is not how this world operates. We have contracts that have lots of fine print. There is a deposit that is required. Just before the technician leaves, the final bill is presented with the expectation for full payment to be made. What’s missing in this relationship is trust. There is no trust that the other party will do what it said it will do. Therefore, it requires a lot of paperwork, a deposit and final payment when the work is completed.
I think the same can be said of the Christian faith. In the first book of the Bible, Genesis, God says to the serpent that I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”
God never broke His promise to us. He was true to His word. He sent Jesus to fulfill that promise. Today, He can still be counted on to be true to His word.
I’ll be back soon. Until then, live well my friend.
The Rev. Tony Marciano is the president/CEO of the Charlotte Rescue Mission. He is available to speak to your group. Visit www.charlotterescuemission.org for details.