david j. pedde

One Thing You Need To Know

Recently, I was about 1200 kilometres into a 1600 kilometre drive (for my American friends - that’s 750 miles into a 1000 mile drive) when I came upon one of those church signs. In bold capital letters: 




Seriously? One thing I need to know? Boy, was I ever glad to have been enlightened by that no doubt well meaning, though misguided, sign placer! “This sign is going to change the world.” “Boy oh boy oh boy oh boy, wait ’til the guy from Canada drives by and sees this beauty!” 

I suppose that there are a few “one things” that everyone needs to know. 

Don’t eat yellow snow. 

Don’t drink poison. 

Don’t sit down on an open stove door. 

Eat your vegetables. 

Pay your taxes. 

Do good to others and they will do good to you.


Later upon arriving at our destination, we were recounting our sign sighting to family members using our best Ozark accents. At one point, I even started singing an edited version of a song I wrote for my youth choir back in 1986.

This one thing 

I’m sure of

This is it…

The devil hates you and is trying to take you out.


Once the jokes subsided, I found myself getting a little angry. Angry and embarrassed that we, the Church, the people of God who are presumably supposed to “Let (our) light shine before men in such a way that they may see (our) good works, and glorify (our) Father who is in heaven, resort to using completely insensitive, out of touch messaging. If we are to be salt and light, then what are we serving up in terms of that message? What truths are we illuminating with our church signs and more importantly, our lives?


Don’t get me wrong. I actually do believe that there is a devil who wants to take us out, to kill us and to destroy us. He is not a cartoon character to be made light of, nor is he a supreme being with all power to destroy us, but he does “prowl around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.”


However, choosing one sign to to deliver the one thing message is, in my mind, not only dumb and irrelevant to the potential readers, but completely out of bounds.


It leaves me wondering what the one thing is that we need to know. And what is the message that God would have us deliver to His children?

I close with the actual lyric to that 30 year old song.

This one thing

I’m sure of

This is it

God is love

Not that we loved Him yet gave His Son

I am convinced of it

It’s written

That nothing can separate us from His love.


   If there’s one thing you need to know…





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