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What if We Missed the Basics?

As I was driving home from New York to Pennsylvania a couple weeks ago I realized my wiper fluid was out. A snowstorm and salty roads made the lack of wiper fluid quite dangerous, so I made a quick stop to pick up some fluid.

The gas station had been out for two weeks and said that a pallet of them should be showing up “any day.” So, I washed my car and got back on the road, and because the weather cleared up, it was another 100 miles before the lack of wiper fluid made my visibility (or, rather, lack thereof) a dire situation again.

I made another stop, purchased wiper fluid, popped the hood, and realized I have never in my twenty years of driving had to put wiper fluid in my vehicle. I’m sure my dad ran me through it as one of the “basics of driving” - but that was twenty years ago, and I haven’t done it since.

As I stared under the hood, I was pretty certain of the fact that the wiper sign on the plastic lid indicated where it was to go. But it never hurts to verify and so I texted my question to some safe people to ask — you know, those that wouldn’t laugh at me — but they didn’t respond right away.

It was 23 degrees out and getting colder, so I approached two strangers that were parked near me and explained that I had the DUMBEST request ... I needed their help because I had never put wiper fluid in my car before and wanted to verify that I was on the right track before pouring the fluid in.

The two men laughed and made rather rude comments indicating that I looked clueless and that they would save the day.

And I was grieved as I realized how closely this connects with life in the church.

What “basics” of Christian development have you missed that, until you’re in a dire situation, you don’t want to address? In part, perhaps, because you don’t know what you don’t know, but then, when you realize it, it’s SO elementary you feel like you should know it.  It can be hard to admit we need some help with the basics!

And how many responses have embarrassed you and left you feeling like it isn’t safe to express vulnerability?

Or how many times have you been shocked someone didn’t know an elementary truth and you’ve responded in a “I will save the day” manner? Remember, Jesus alone saves. What we know is simply a channel by which we serve and love God and others.

If you’ve read this far, I’ll share this vulnerable part of my story: I wanted so badly to defend my abilities and the thousands of miles I have driven across the country. I’m sharing here not to defend my capabilities, but to draw attention to the fact that defensiveness is natural to us when we feel vulnerable.

This isn’t just a simple story about wiper fluid. Those gentlemen didn’t mean embarrass me or hurt my feelings, but in a different season of my life they may have due to my own sensitivities. Or it might have hurt and embarrassed me if we’d had a closer relationship, such as a family member, which is exactly the intimate relationship God designed for His own. How often and how easily do we as followers of Christ forget our position as family members with one another and the exhortation we have to build one another up?

Childish things are cute in a child, but they are jarring and unbecoming in an adult.

But how does one grow confidence in where their wiper fluid goes if someone doesn’t show them? And what purpose does it serve to belittle the one inquiring and eager to learn?

Whether you find yourself to be the believer missing some basics, or the believer in a position to teach basics to another, let us put on the character of Christ and, as Colossians 3:12 tells us: “ God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”

Jessica Morris is a military wife serving alongside her husband, SFC Paul Morris, who are both Local Representatives at Fort Gordon.  Jessica homeschools her two sons, and when she gets a moment, she can be found blissfully reading and growing anything green.

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