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Car counselor

"Car counselor" Continued...

Issue: "Profiles in effective compassion," Sept. 26, 2009

Nor is Lacy, although his business model won't make him rich, and it's not for those who measure success in terms of volume. Traditional car dealers try to move lots of cars and make money on the cars, the trade-in, the loans, and the warranties and other after-market products. But Lacy gets by with less and says, "You don't have to make a whole lot of profit when you don't have a whole lot of bills to pay." He compares himself to an "ant in the midst of the jungle of the car business. I can't serve all of humanity, but I can make an impact on people I come in contact with."

Lacy thinks about his work through an Ephesians 2:10 prism: "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." He explains: "We are His masterpieces of creation. . . . He created me to do good works and have influence on human beings. . . . By divine appointment He has given me a love for people and He stuck me in this car business. . . . I love helping people. It makes me feel validated."

He sees each day as being "full of opportunities, if we're paying attention, to show people God's love and compassion." Sometimes that happens by being friendly and showing care for his customers. Sometimes he helps a single mom get a good car that she can afford. He helps missionaries on furlough get cars for the six months or a year they are in the United States. (He knows wholesalers who will buy the cars back for nearly what the missionaries paid.) He's sold cars to people he's never met, and says a man living in Okinawa holds the record for being farthest away when he received car counseling. (The car was delivered to Austin.)

Last Christmas he and his partners agreed to help a youth pastor get a new truck to replace a Toyota Camry with 200,000 miles, no AC, bad brakes, and windows that didn't work. "I didn't want my son to ride in there. It was a safety hazard." The church conducted a stealth campaign, raising $13,500 in six weeks without the pastor's knowledge. Then one Sunday after the service, the members of the church came out to the parking lot, thinking they were going to hear an update on a parking lot expansion plan. Instead, Lacy drove up in a 3-year-old Ford super crew pickup. Fifteen members of the youth group were in the back of the truck. The whole church applauded.

Lacy said that arrangement "got me into the Christmas spirit last year."

Susan Olasky
Susan Olasky

Susan pens book reviews and other articles for WORLD as a senior writer and has authored eight historical novels for children. Susan and her husband Marvin live in Asheville, N.C. Follow Susan on Twitter @susanolasky.

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