I spent a summer doing mission work in Alaska when I was in college. For three months I bounced around the southeast peninsula offering vacation bible school in mostly isolated communities. I visited my church right before I began and my pastor invited me into his study and said, “Here I have something for you.” He extended his hand a dropped into my open palm a small silver pocket cross. It was the first time I ever saw one of these. I asked, “Is there some sort of story behind this.” He replied, “No, not particularly, it’s just a little something to carry in your pocket to remind you of where your power comesfrom.” I carried that little cross in my pocket all through my Alaskan journey and for many years after. Every time I reached into my pocket it silently taught me to trust. It whispered to me, “Jesus is with you and all you need is God no matter where you are.”
The Bible is full of objects that teach. Old Testament figures seemed to be perpetually stacking stones to commemorate something God had done in a particular place. The tabernacle and temple were richly adorned with images and symbols. In the New Testament and on in today, the bread and the cup continue to speak to us of Christ’s sacrifice and resurrection.
I actually strategically place objects in my life to speak to me certain lessons about God. I have a candle in my office that sits next to the chair that is my prayer and study spot. When I begin my prayer time I light the candle and say, “I light this candle to remind me of Christ’s presence with me.” Often times, I leave it burning throughout the day as a reminder.
I have a new addition to the objects that teach in my life and that is a purple golf ball. That may sound odd but it comes from a sermon I preached this past weekend. In short, this purple golf ball reminds me that God transcends and will outlast everything I physically see. The blazing inferno of the sun, lighting up our solar system with its rays stretching out and beyond will some day collapse and become nothing but a cold hard silent mass hovering in inky emptiness. Even if that takes billions of years to occur, when it’s done, Christ the light sent into the world to shove back the darkness will not have faded and we will be standing in His light. If you want to understand why a golf ball says all of that to me then you will need to listen to the podcast using the player above or listen on iTunes.
In the meantime, what are some objects you can strategically put in your path to silently feed your faith. Stop and think about a time when God was undeniably real to you. What is something physical that can be a reminder to you off that moment? I would love to hear what objects you pick and why. Tell us your story in the comments below.
Here are some exercises you can use to enhance your faith using today’s lesson. Youth leaders can very easily adapt or adopt the first two suggestions for a youth group devotional.
Application Option 1
Listen to the sermon above and then go out and look at the night sky. Meditate on the mighty deed that creation is. Consider the stars. Think about the fact that these stars are millions of miles away. In fact, they may be so far away that the light you are seeing is from a star that is now long gone. Each of these stars may represent entire solar systems not unlike our own or even far more vast. When your mind starts to stagger beneath the weight of trying to grasp just how enormous all of this is. Then consider the fact that God breathed these things into being and transcends them all. Before they were and after they are gone, God will Be for God is the great I Am. Realize that this God that transcends all things chose to be here, to know you, to redeem you. Get a golf ball and carry it around or place it somewhere as a reminder for the next 18 days.
Application Option 2
Read the story of Jacob’s dream in Genesis 28:10-32. Jacob awoke from his dream with assurance in his heart that God was in that place and he did not know it. He set a stone to commemorate and remind him of that fact. Think of a time and place when and where you knew God was with you and “set a stone.” May be you don’t set one literally, but think of some object that can remind you of that moment. May be it is something small you can carry. If not, place that object somewhere prominent. When you see that object allow yourself to remember and relive that moment. Let that moment saturate you once again with the undeniability of God’s awesome presence.
Application Option 3
Adopt a practice of lighting a candle or holding a cross as you pray as a tangible reminder of Christ.