The Preacher Man used to be a Plumber before he entered into ministry.
He still is a plumber some days, I believe, on an as-needed basis. I have seen him carry a plunger and tote a wrench before. Perhaps it was his lay trade history that makes it so he says things that get me tickled and make me take another look at things that are familiar.
I have never been in construction but I have on a number of times traversed the aisles of the Home Improvement Store. The smell of lumber draws me in like freshly baked bread does some other folks. It ushers in reminiscing and memories. When I was little, some of my people were into carpentry. My play was sprinkled with wood scraps and sawdust like some kids’ play is peppered with play-doh and glitter.
Perhaps it is that which has laid a foundation of familiarity when The Plumber-turned-preacher goes back to his roots. This might have been the case when he preached on Matthew Chapter 7, verse 3; it is a verse about the plank in one’s own eye whilst pointing out the splinter in someone else’s eye. The King was speaking metaphorically at the time, and to be honest I have known this story for a lot of years. The thought of a piece of wood in my eye seems uncomfortable, but that is where the lesson mostly ended for me. I had missed the point of the story entirely. Maybe the preacher knew that so he drew from construction days as he began to break it down for his congregants, yours truly included.
He likened the log in the eye to a piece of lumber, specifically a two-by-twelve, two inches wide and twelve foot long. He is deeply southern and pronounced two-by-twelve all together making it sound like “tuba-twelve.”
A two-by-twelve is long and thin so it bounces and bends easily as it is ill-supported, and isn’t easily maneuverable. A two-by-twelve is an awkward piece of lumber. The mental picture began to form in my mind.
Imagine trying to walk around stabilizing that plank of wood, managing to go through life with that tree hanging off your face. The metaphor had become clearer. Imagine that nonsense when you are concerned with a speck in someone else’s eye. As the Preacher man spoke, his description of the “tuba-twelve” made me realize that until that moment I had completely missed the purpose of the parable. As he preached, he challenged us all to be aware of our own plank of wood, and now I remind myself to be ever cognizant of my tuba-twelve while being careful not to point out other folk’s stuff.