Sermon Illustrations

Pointed Sticks! (10.31.05--Faith That Flies!--Judges 6:25-30)

“If you walk around with a pointed stick you are liable to hurt yourself.” There was something about a pointed stick that just put mothers on edge. Pointed sticks weren’t risky from our perspective at all. As boys we were willing to take the risk.

Nonetheless, running with pointed sticks was a way of life for me as a little boy. Although the cautions were many, they simply weren’t ardent enough to persuade a little boy that pointed sticks were something to be avoided. All of this nearly changed, however, one summer day when during a game of army, a bunch of us decided include pointed sticks in our arsenal. So, before the sides were chosen and the battle of dirt clods and “dow-dow-dow” began, we went looking for just the right sapling branches to turn into pointed sticks. With the whittling done and the sticks strategically hung from our belts loops, appropriately armed for battle, we chose up sides and launched our battle.

Everything went according to plan; sticks were waving in the air and boys were shouting and heaving dirt clod grenades. When, all of a sudden, a different sound could be heard above the din. One of the troop was crying. Someone got hit in the head with a clod? As quickly as we entered into the fray, it just as quickly unraveled at the sound of real hurt. We looked around to find Lonny, one of the smaller kids in the group, lying on the ground crying. He had tripped and fallen on his pointed stick and stuck himself in the forearm. We looked at each other and to a boy knew exactly what we would hear upon getting Lonny home. “You know you boys shouldn’t run with pointed sticks!”

We did get the lecture and, for a time, the pointed sticks disappeared. But it was just a matter of time before, throwing caution to the wind, they reappeared again. Pointed sticks were dangerous. But there was another truth, one that mothers could not know--pointed sticks were both useful and necessary when it came to being a boy. There was always the chance of getting hurt but we were willing to risk it for the sake of having the stick. We loved our moms, make no mistake about it. But they just didn’t understand this important point.

Sometimes it is like that with faith. Faith is risky and there are times when God asks us to do things that might bring us hurt. Like a pointed stick, it is a necessary part of being a Christian. The world doesn’t understand this. It can only see the downside of faith. We, on the other hand, know how necessary it is in defining who we are.

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