Let me begin this article by giving you the definition of “whaddyamean?” It’s a Southernism for, “What do you mean?” It’s not unusual for people of any age or stage in life to throw out the question this multiple-words-reduced-to-one-word represents as a response to something that’s being said or planned. Whaddyamean? The word came into a discussion recently with my brother as he was telling me that whaddyamean? has become one of the mainstay responses to anything going on whenever someone in the family talks with his young grandson. He is a bright, thoughtful, outstanding young man who in his early teen years has adopted whaddyamean? as his default position for anything said or done.
The issue at hand doesn’t matter; he has learned to interject whaddyamean?. Someone can comment, “Boy, the sky is a beautiful blue today.” Whaddyamean?. Or, “I’m going to have to stop and get some gas.” Whaddyamean?. Or, “Christmas will be here before you know it.” Whaddyamean?. You get the picture, and it usually elicits a response from those of us who are part of the conversation or comment. At times, I can tell you, it gets frustrating for some of the folks because regardless of how you reply to a whaddyamean?, it can lead to another whaddyamean?.
As my brother was telling me about this unique period in his grandson’s life, I thought to myself that maybe he is an emerging philosopher looking for deeper truth in every kind of nook and cranny of life or on the other hand, he just needs further development to come up with some other questions. The more I thought about it, I realized what a bright kid he is with questions — or at least that one question — that penetrate some of life’s deepest issues and are reflected throughout the Scripture. Let me give you just three examples that you can consider.
One, look at a revelation of this truth that is visible. I would point you to Daniel 5:25. There in the midst of a huge, self-centered, egotistical party, Babylonian King Belshazzar is confronted with handwriting on the wall. The problem was that he didn’t know what it meant and he could have said — and at least was thinking — whaddyamean? As you read the story in Daniel, you know that Daniel was brought before the king as the answer to the problem. Daniel interpreted the handwriting on the wall, and it was a message of judgement and difficulty ahead for the king.
In this case, written across the wall was the fact that our decisions have consequences. There, visibly, the king was seeing that his decisions, his life and lifestyle, his utter dismissal of God in his life, and putting himself in the place of God had consequences. For all of us, there are times when life’s panoramic view before us is a visible reality that our decisions have consequences. We all know of people, and sometimes are the person ourselves, who go to the doctor with some symptom of something only to be told that the problem has to do with lifestyle. Decisions have consequences. Sometimes good and sometimes bad, but our decisions have consequences.
A second look at whaddyamean? is a verbal revelation that took place out in the middle of nowhere as Philip was walking through the desert. There was a eunuch who served as the treasurer for Ethiopian Queen Candace riding along in a chariot and reading the Old Testament book of Isaiah. Philip overheard him, went to the chariot, and asked him if he understood what he was reading. This is isn’t a literal translation but the eunuch could have said, whaddyamean?. What the eunuch did say was, “How can I, except some man should guide me” (Acts 8:31)? God put Philip there to help the eunuch understand.
God sometimes sends a word just to you and to me, and when we’re trying to figure out what we need to do and how we need to respond to Him, we may ask whaddyamean? and God says, “Listen to what I’m saying to you.” What a beautiful thing. Too often, we’re looking at the grand scheme of all of time and eternity and trying to figure out what it all means, when God is simply speaking directly to us. Listen to what He is saying to you today. There is a revelation of whaddyamean? that may be verbal to you.
A last thought is from Jesus, a revelation involving a vacuum. In Matthew 7 when Jesus is closing out the Sermon on the Mount, He says in that day as people stand before Him many will profess and say, “Have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works” (Matthew 7:22)? Jesus replied, “And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you” (Matthew 7:23). Stop and think about that. There’s a vacuum in a person’s heart when there is no relationship — zero relationship — with Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
It does not matter in how much religious activity you participate, how big and grandiose that participation may be, or how small and unseen it is. If there’s never been a time in your life when you invited Jesus to be your Savior, to come into your heart — to give you life everlasting – all the other efforts combined do not make a difference in your eternity. Jesus is looking for that singular confession that you know Him as your Savior.
The answer to the eternal whaddyamean? is to fill that vacuum today. Romans 10:9 states, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:9, 13). The vacuum in your life can be filled today. Then, for eternity to come, when someone says, “Do you know Jesus?,” you don’t have to say whaddyamean?. You can say, “Yes, and this is where I met Him.” God bless you this very day.
The author can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Jim Futral