When Object Lessons Become Idols

I always use objects when available to help explain a spiritual truth. I believe that if I can use a common, every day, item to help remind children, and adults, about God, then they will begin to see God in their lives all around them. The object is just that, an object, a tool to be used to draw people to God. Jesus used objects, earthly things, to teach spiritual lessons. We call those parables and I love to use parables (object lessons).

This time of year, Christmas, there are symbols and objects all around us that can be used to draw us close to Jesus. Object lessons abound from the candy cane, to candles/lights, trees, cookies, and the list goes on and on. But what happens when these objects become idols?

objectlesson_becomes_idol Continue reading

Lessons from the Lawn III: Volunteers

Man mowing lawnHow many times do you hear people say that they “hate” cutting the grass? I hear it quite often during the summer time. I often hear people say things like “I’d concrete over my yard if I could”, “as long as it’s green (whether weeds or grass) – I don’t care”, and other similar things. People seem to dread yard work and so when an individual enters the discussion that enjoys lawn care, people tend to look at them a little funny.

This can happen in the church as well. There are some areas of service that people enjoy, and some areas that people simply do not like to serve, or are not well suited to serve. Like lawn care.

Those who see a certain area of service as a “burden” perceive that it is a burden for everyone else as well. You may not enjoy lawn care, but someone else does….. you may not enjoy serving with the 2 year olds, but someone else does….. you may not enjoy singing in public, but some one else does ….. you may not enjoy … well, you get the picture.

When a person, or a church, sees an opportunity to serve as a burden, then it tries to fill it with many different people to share that “burden”. Schedules are made to have several people cut the lawn, to serve in a particular class, to serve in whatever task is deemed a burden, when there may be an individual, or a group of individuals, that enjoy serving in that area. What does it say to that person, serving God in a way they can do well, and they enjoy, that we need to “ease their burden” when it is not a burden to them?

Using the lawn care analogy, this person who used to edge the sidewalks, try to remove weeds, bag the access grass, and make the lawn look nice, now must yield his service to others who are filling a slot. Others who only care that the grass is green, not whether it has weeds, or grass. Not properly edging the sidewalks, etc. all because another deems it as a burden to care for.

Now imagine the lawn is teaching children or youth. You pick the age or grade. What if you had someone passionate about teaching the children the things of God. Doing their best to engage the children and make sure the lesson was doctrinally correct. What if this person found it a joy to serve in this way, but then someone who saw this as a burden on them decided that they needed to rotate with others. Others who didn’t have the same passion, the same care for engaging the children, the same care for being doctrinally sound? Others who just filled a position, even though they “hated” to teach the children?

Paul wrote that we are all a part of the body of Christ (Romans 12:4-5, 2 Corinthians 12:12), serving together to make up the whole body. Each with our own individual gifts.

May we not keep one from using their gift under the guise of “sharing the burden” when the “burden” doesn’t exist.



Lessons from the Lawn

A few years ago I moved into a new development. So new that when I moved in, the grass had not yet been planted. Being a home owner for the first time, I now needed to care for the lawn. Suddenly the parable of the seed falling on good soil had a whole new meaning. But that wasn’t the only lesson I’ve learned from my lawn, there are several. Here a few of those lessons. Continue reading