Woodshed Wisdom

By Freeman Martin

It was just another one of what I call ‘silly surveys’. You see ‘em in magazines all the time. You know, they give you ten questions and, judging by your answers, you look at the bottom of the page to find out what kind of person you are. In other words, someone who needs to get a life says that if you tell us what you like and what you don’t like and if you get eight out of ten questions right, we’ll tell you what kind of life you’re having and even what kind of personality you have.

The Route 4 translation of my response to those kinds of things is usually one word – hogwash!  But this one came down the electronic dirt road and landed smack dab in the middle of my inbox. Which I must say is a world away from our ‘inbox’ back home on the farm.

Back then, the inbox was the big wooden box that we put stove wood in every night so Mother wouldn’t have to go out to the woodshed before cooking two pans of cathead biscuits every morning. That was the original purpose for the woodshed. Only later would it become a ‘popular’ gatherin’ place for the game called ‘Lessons of Life.’

Here’s an idea for you survey takers. Tell me how many times a day you were taken to the woodshed when you were growing up, and I’ll tell you exactly what kind of personality you have. Never been to the woodshed, or wouldn’t know what one looked like if it dropped out of the sky into your backyard? Ladies and gentlemen, let’s bow our heads and pray.

Anyway, back to the main road. This latest test of my IQ involved the electronic version of the old television show, Family Feud. But, unlike the tv show, where I could just sit back and guess out loud, this new-fangled Wii version of The Feud gives you two eye blinks or about 13 seconds to think of an answer, find your cursor and type in your answer using some sort of hand-held remote control device from Star Wars.

I have a hard enough time with a keyboard that doesn’t move, much less one that flies all over the screen. And if you can’t think of all six parts of a car that make a noise, for instance, in the allotted time, you get the big red ‘X.’ Do you know how embarrassing it is to be outsmarted by your nine-year-old granddaughter? Not to mention her 35-year-old dad who knew some secret way to get extra time on the 13-second clock.

I guess I should stick to the old-fashioned surveys where the questions are in front of me to study for a while before I answer. It just proves that we all have different gifts and abilities, different likes and dislikes.

One of those magazine surveys caught my eye a while back. I guess it was the title, ‘THE REAL YOU!’  And it had some of the silliest questions you’ve ever heard, the answers to which I could find “the real me.”

Question numero uno: Do you like your corn flakes soggy or crispy? Now right away I’m in trouble on the first question. I don’t eat corn flakes. I figure if we don’t use corn for flakes, we’d have more hot and buttered corn-on-the-cob. But what about my frosted mini wheats and raisin bran? If they sit there long enough to soak up all the milk, then it’s mush. And babies or people who’ve had their teeth pulled eat that kind of stuff. I’ll take mine while they’re still crispy, please.

Second question: Do you like chocolate or vanilla ice cream? The problem? They didn’t give me a choice of either butter pecan or homemade peach. So what am I supposed to say? If I don’t pick chocolate or vanilla, does that mean I flunk the test and they can’t find the “real me?”

Third question: Do you prefer a mattress that’s firm or soft? Pretty straight forward. I slept on one for eighteen years that was so soft it threw me and my brother Ollie to the middle of the bed. Skinny one wound up on the bottom. Guess who that was. Not a good night’s rest. My answer, definitely firm.

Fourth and final question: Are you a morning or night person? Well, this is just me, but I’m partial to the whole day. If I say morning, does that mean I’m not a person at night? Or if I say I’m a morning person, do I turn into a frog at night?

So I’ve answered one out of four on the silly survey. My score is 25. According to the explanation of scores at the bottom of the page, if you score less than 75, you’re supposed to order a 12-disc collection of ‘Thoughts of Highly Intelligent People.’ At a cost of only $399.95. Payable in four monthly installments of $100 each.

I think I’ll write to the company and tell ‘em that I put cheese, butter, and sugar in my grits. And my brother Wade puts salt on a sweet and juicy watermelon. That ought to keep the highly intelligent folks in committee meetings for a couple of years at least!

But wouldn’t it be a dull world if we all liked the same thing? The truth is,  God wired us all different. That doesn’t mean we’re not special. In fact, when you were born, it was a Special Delivery. It says so right there in His word. I don’t need to order anybody’s 12-disc collection. All I have to do is study my Bible. We were all ‘fearfully and wonderfully made’ (Psalm 139:14), because He created us in His own image (Genesis 1:27).

And just because we don’t all like the same thing doesn’t mean that we’re not part of the Real Deal. Which is the Body of Christ. Paul lays it out pretty simple in Romans 12:4-8. Our physical body has many members. Toes, arms, legs, feet, eyes, noses, ears, etc., etc. Just imagine what we’d look like if our body was all noses and feet. Not a pretty sight!

By the same token, we who are in Christ make up one body. Even with all our differences. And, by the grace of God, He has given us all different abilities, talents, and gifts. In the body of Christ, some of us are meant to be legs, others feet, still others eyes and ears and so on. We all make up the same body, but a foot can’t be an arm. And a nose can’t be an ear. And so forth and so on.

As Paul puts it, for the body of Christ to ‘stay off crutches’ and perform at maximum efficiency, each part must do what it was designed to do. Legs, you get together with feet and ankles and take us walking. Ears and eyes, yawl keep us from pulling in front of a fast-moving freight train. Arms and hands and hearts, yawl help us love each other.

In the kingdom of God, it might be preaching, teaching, serving, giving, encouraging, leading, or showing mercy wrapped up in a cheerful attitude. If each one of us isn’t doing what we’re wired to do, the whole body suffers. And if we try to do something that our hard drive can’t handle, we’ll know it right away.

So, if you’re the world champion Wii player, or if you always ace those surveys, I thank God for you.

If it was left up to me, the body of Christ would be on life support!