Wednesday Wisdom With Wyndham – 43

Wisdom Understands Buckets and Funnels

Nor’easters. They are fierce. For those of us living in New England these mean high winds—accompanied by hearty downpours of rain or hefty droppings of snow.

Today’s forecast calls for a foot of snow. Last week’s nor’easter was a rain event (where we live). That storm was unusually strong—an “every few decades” happening.

Two weeks ago we (for the second time) had our kitchen ceiling “repaired” from damage caused by a nor’easter a couple of years ago. Water had dripped through the ceiling and light fixtures, through the floor, and into the basement. This recent repair was done just in time for the past week’s storm to undo all that had recently been fixed. (Actually, the repair only consisted of sanding and painting the ceiling, and obviously did not deal with the root of the problem.) The damage from this storm redamaged our ceiling—causing it to look just like it did before it was “fixed.” The water once again leaked out of the ceiling through the floor and into the basement. I placed a bucket on the floor to catch the drips. 

This unfortunate and true scenario reminds me of wisdom Wyndham has often dispensed as he (and we) have worked with individuals, marriages, and families. He has referred to this lesson as “buckets and funnels.”

In other words, the contents of the buckets that have been poured into us (by our families, our experiences, our hurts, our pains) will be funneled out from us to other receiving buckets (spouse, children, work associates, family members). When someone’s toxic bucket (full of harmful and sinful patterns) is funneled into ours we get hurt, and the contents of our own buckets can become rancid—filled with bitterness, envy, and all sorts of unresolved relationships and feelings. These, in turn, get funneled into others’ buckets. This keeps on happening—unless we stop the madness.

Wisdom knows we must each recognize what has been funneled into our bucket (both good and bad). We must then stop funneling and leaking harmful thoughts and practices into others’ buckets. We can’t just sand and paint over our buckets. We must fix what’s inside, find the root of the bad, and do repair work. We can’t control what has been poured into our bucket, but we can control what is funneled out.

Toxic becomes pure only through the grace and forgiveness found in Jesus, and the power of his Spirit to change our lives. He allows us to recognize the sludge and empty it from our buckets. Only then can we refill our bucket with the fruits of God’s Spirit, and experience his healing forgiveness. Then, when these purified and refilled buckets are funneled all kinds of good results—and many lives are blessed.

How often I’ve listened as Wyndham has patiently helped men and women discover what has (unintentionally) been filling their buckets and then spilling out and hurting others. He has helped them identify the poisonous contents, dump them out, and by God’s power replace them with what is good, true, and right. Then, they can pass on what is good and true and right.

The storms will continue to come. The water that goes through our roof and into our ceiling will come out, just as what goes into our bucket will funnel out. We can’t just sand and paint over problems and expect our lives to be fixed. They must be repaired and changed from the inside out. The only repair comes through Jesus and his words. He can empty our trash and fill our buckets with his treasures.

Today a big storm is coming. I will need to catch any leaks with a bucket until I discover the real problem. Meanwhile, check your bucket. The contents will be funneled into others.

43  “No good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit;
44  for each tree is known by its own fruit. Figs are not gathered from thorns, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush.
45  The good person out of the good treasure of the heart produces good, and the evil person out of evil treasure produces evil; for it is out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks.
Luke 6:43-45 (NRSV)

10  Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11  Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12  Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
         (Psalm 51:10-12)


17  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
18  All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:
(2 Corinthians 5:17-18)

 

 

 

Wednesday Wisdom with Wyndham

Often we meet individuals who have particular and obvious gifts from God. Such is the case with Wyndham Shaw. When people encounter, watch, and interact with him, his wisdom quickly becomes obvious. I believe God has given him a generous portion of wisdom, which has been oft and well used to help change many lives. His desire is always to please God, from the inside out.

I first met Wyndham at the University of Florida when he was a Resident Advisor on my “then-boyfriend’s” dormitory floor. Even then, as a 19 year old, I respected him as a man of wisdom and integrity. As he studied the Scriptures and learned more accurately and adequately how to follow them, he humbly responded, was baptized in 1972, and has been changing lives ever since.

The “then-boyfriend” and I felt badly for Wyndham on the weekends, as his “then girlfriend” lived out of state. So, we often invited him to join us on our Saturday night dates. The rest is history. We became best friends, fell in love, and were married in 1974. 

Forty-three ministry years, many houses, four children, eight grandchildren, countless adventures, and eight dogs later we have experienced life to the full, as promised by Jesus in John 10:10. There have been many dips and thrills on this roller coaster of life, but we are blessed and grateful. I would heartily recommend this life and marriage to anyone, and we bow in gratitude to God for making this possible. Without his love and mercy, and his living and active words…we would not have anything resembling this “life to the full.” 

For a long while I have wanted to express some of the wisdom gleaned from Wyndham’s life in writing, so that as many as possible can gain from the life I have observed, shared in, and loved for over four decades. After seeking input from several friends, I decided to gather and share pieces of Wyndham’s wisdom each Wednesday.

Wyndham’s physical voice is now soft and weak, but his life and example is loud and strong. He suffers from a rare neuro-degenerative disease called Multiple System Atrophy. To be honest, it’s a horrible disease we would wish on no one. Over the past two years, my agile, athletic, and active husband has become wheelchair bound, unable to carry out normal activities of daily life on his own. God faithfully hears our many prayers, and we are confident of several things: He loves us, he hears us, he is all powerful, and he does not make mistakes. He will give us exactly what we need, and this world is not our home.  Every day is a gift. We begin our prayer together in the mornings with Lamentations 3:21-24.
  Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:
  Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.
  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
  I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”

Wyndham’s prayer and resolve as he lives with this disease is to be grateful, courageous, and cheerful each day—which he does amazingly well. I told you he was a wise man.

The first piece of wisdom I will share has exuded from his soul since his earliest days as a Christian. It comes from his all-time favorite Bible verse,  1 Timothy 1:5:

The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.

This is the wisdom he lives by: Living a life for God begins from the inside out. It begins and ends with integrity. Living daily with sincerity of faith, purity of heart, and a clear conscience results in a life of love. Such is the wisdom I have watched him live… day after day.

I could fill a daily blog for years with wisdom I have learned from Wyndham. However, I’ll stick with one day a week. Each Wednesday I will share wisdom gleaned, not just from me, but from our family who saw him day and night and from friends near and far whose lives he has touched.

Many of you have already told me you wish to share wisdom you learned from Wyndham. If you wish to contribute to this collection please email me at shaw.jeanie@gmail.com with the subject line—Wednesday Wisdom. If you wish to receive these blogs in your inbox, feel free to sign up to follow the blog.

I’ll look forward to meeting you here on Wednesdays. And if you would, please remember us in your prayers. It’s a privilege to have you in our lives.