When My Wife Sent Me To The Shed…
The other night I asked my wife if she knew where the ladder was, and she replied she had put it in the shed. So I headed out to the backyard, and spent a good twenty minutes poking around in the dark in the backyard shed. I eventually gave up looking and said that I couldn’t find it. She then walked straight into the garage at the front of our house and emerged with the ladder within 30 seconds. After 17 years of marriage it appears we have just unearthed a new difference in our means of communication. What do you call the room where you park your cars and any other garden gear that you can fit along the sides? My family always called that a garage, but Ruth’s apparently called it a shed.
Just two days later, Ruth was heading out and yelled out a last minute request. “Would you mind cleaning the bird poo off the shed door?”. “Sure”, I thought. Would you believe that I went and examined the door of the backyard shed and was puzzled to find it quite clean. I then came to the conclusion she must have meant the shed roof, as that was quite dirty, so I began a search for the ladder again. Upon examination, I decided that the shed roof was too big a job for that morning, and would have to wait for when I had more time. I was just re-entering the house when the revelation hit me. Maybe she was just referring to the garage door!! Sure enough, there was the bird poop that needed cleaning.
The point of this story is that language runs deep in the way our brain works. A simple word like “shed” may have a concept deeply embedded in your brain which is hard to re-interpret and change after you’ve been using it for years in a different way. When it comes to living a life of following Jesus, we have got a lot of words that may need re-interpretation, but deeper than that, we have got a lot of concepts and thought patterns that need total reprogramming.
What are the images in your mind which arise when words like “faith”, “worship”, “repentance”, “generosity”, “forgiveness”, or “church” are used? It is very possible that our understanding of these types of concepts are strongly influenced by our culture and our family’s understanding of them, rather than a biblical and gospel-centred approach.
This is particularly the case for the church in Asia. So many in the church there are new Christians whose families have been saturated in a culture of Hinduism where doctrines of grace and forgiveness barely exist, and where worship and faith are strongly linked to idolatry. God is doing a great work in this country, but the needs for real grounding in God’s word is vast.
Please stand with us in prayer and support as we push further ahead this year with the work of building up and equipping new leaders for the church in Asia to continue to grow in depth as well as width.