Saturday, July 2, 2011

A Simple Illustration of Faith

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”

Hebrews 11:1

It is when you know, that you know, that you know, that you know.

Faith is a belief.

When I was a young girl in bible school, faith was explained to me as belief. When we make the decision to sit down in a chair, it is because of faith. We believe the chair will hold us without us falling. We are said to have faith in the chair.

Obviously, the Christian model does not charge us with having faith in a chair, but in God. Our belief in God means that we believe that he is the Supreme Creator of the universe and the ultimate authority. He is the Alpha and Omega; i.e. the beginning and the end.

“He replied, ‘If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.’”

Luke 17:6

A mustard seed is one of the smallest plant seeds. It is said to be smaller than a grain of salt. That, as a size of faith, is a very small amount. A small amount of faith can have huge consequences, many time larger than the original seed.

Isn’t that how seeds work? Something large comes from something very small. As long as it is planted in fertile soil, and becomes rooted, it can grow when tended properly.

Children are like this. They are small, but can still have a huge amount of faith because they have not yet become as desensitized to life’s ideals and skeptical like we adults have learned to become.

Another illustration of the power of a small amount of faith can be made with a can of shaving cream. A can of shaving cream has limited, specific, dimensions. We press the button on the top of the can to push out the shaving cream and it flows, and flows and flows. The volume of the pile of the shaving cream that comes from a can is much greater than the volume of the original can. This is like faith. A little faith can produce a much bigger result than the size of the original amount of faith.

This illustration is one that we used to use at Blue Lake United Methodist Church camp when I was a lifeguard and camp counselor at the age of 17. This has also proven to be very effective when I have done children’s sermons.

Something about making a mess with shaving cream really is very appealing to children.

But come to think of it, life can get messy sometimes. And sometimes this messiness is just a sign of progress.


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