My son came home a couple days ago so excited,“Daddy! Daddy! I was picked to paint the shovel at school!”

To be honest, I had no idea what he meant, and the harder I tried to understand him, the more confused I got. I couldn’t understand why painting a shovel was important, or why only one in his class was chosen. Finally, I got my answers.

I help in his classroom every day for reading excercises, and the teacher explained that every grade had one student selected to paint the “shovel”, and she pointed out the window. That’s when I saw the blade of an Altoona city snowplow.  The city is allowing the students to paint the face of the plow so that when they see the snow getting plowed, they’ll have a connection to helping the city! It suddenly made sense.

Having the proper understanding of the situation made me understand why he was so excited. It also helped me to realize why it was such a big deal. Just hearing different words and seeing a visual totally changed my perspective.  It got me thinking about how we don’t understand people of other denominations or even different faiths sometimes. Often we are doing the exact same thing, but using different words or ceremonies, and yet we use those things to cause division.  So often we look for how “they” are different from “us” but how often do we look for what makes us similar?

I think it’s time for us to start considering that just because we don’t understand something doesn’t make it wrong. Why not take the time to learn and understand what’s going on behind the words. Let’s not assume we know the what and why,
instead let’s try and understand the story behind the words.

Take a look at Acts 17 with Paul preaching on Mars Hill, using a pagan culture’s ideas, statues, and poems to reveal Christ. Maybe if we looked for what makes us similar, we would have a basis for relationship in which we could exchange ideas and help them see God in their world. Wouldn’t that be interesting?
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