According to George Hunter III, in his excellent book The Celtic Way of Evangelism, one of the reasons Christianity spread so rapidly among the “barbaric,” pagan, Celtic cultures of Britain was because the missionaries of the day were experts at taking everyday objects and attaching spiritual significance to them. So, the shamrock is still associated with St. Patrick’s Day today because in the fourth or fifth century he (or perhaps another contemporary missionary) used the common clover to represent God–Patrick pointed out the three leaves and their unity on one stem, and associated the three-in-one, Father/Son/Holy Spirit nature of God with it. So, a culture who had never heard of the biblical God or Jesus Christ could easily learn and remember basic lessons about Christianity.
Taking St. Patrick’s lead, I decided a couple months back to preach a series of sermons doing this very thing. I am taking everyday objects and attaching spiritual, biblical significance to them. My hope is that seeing and using these everyday objects will remind us of who God is, who we are, and our relationship with Him.
Here is an overview of where we have been so far:
Snow – At this point most of us are sick of snow. But, Isaiah 1:18 reminds us that God can not only forgive us, He can make us cleaner than new-fallen snow. Snow is a beautiful reminder of how beautiful God can make us.
Coin – A group of religious leaders came to Jesus trying to trick Him. They asked Him if God’s people should pay taxes. Their ultimate hope was that Rome would arrest Him for saying “no,” or that the people would disown Him for saying “yes.” But, instead, Jesus pointed out Caesar’s image on the coin to say that we need to give Caesar what belongs to him. More importantly, though, Jesus pointed out the fact that we are made in God’s image in order to make the point that we need to give all we have and all we are to God. A coin is reminder of just how much of us belongs to God.
Tree – We love trees: their shade, fruit, stability, permanence. And Jeremiah 17:7-8 tells us that the man who not only trusts in God, but whose trust is God, that man is like a tree planted by water. He will not wither when the droughts of life come around. A tree is a reminder that God can firmly establish us if we will make the effort to grow some roots and tap into His nourishment.
Clock – Our daughter can already identify just about any clock..and she is only 16 months old. That tells me that our society has a reliance on time that we often take for granted. But, we also take for granted that God is the maker and controller of time. He will use the little time we have for His eternal good if we will give every second into His hands. A clock is a reminder that time is short, but God is forever.
Deer – One of the most popular verses in the Bible is Psalm 42:1 in which the writer says that his longing for God is like a deer thirsting for water. What we don’t realize is that the deer in those verses is panting for water because he has been hunted, injured, and pursued. But the writer knows that the only answer to the spiritual desert we wander through in this life is a deep, pure, sincere longing for God. A deer is a reminder that only God can satisfy the thirst for more that all of us have.
Towel – When Jesus wanted to teach a final, lasting lesson to his followers he picked up a towel and washed their feet. That event, though, was really a summary of Jesus’ entire purpose, from leaving heaven to be born in a barn, to suffering an agonizing death He did not deserve. Jesus was, above all other things, a servant. And a towel reminds us that if we are going to follow Him we must, above all other things, be servants, too. Christianity is service, and if we miss that point we miss everything, including heaven.
I am looking forward to the other topics on my list: storm, fire, shadow, water.
Everyday life can and should be a reminder of God’s wonderful nature, grace, and love. We need it to be.