“…in humility receive the Word implanted, which is able to save your souls.”
James 1:21b (NASB)
Grasshoppers, ants, worms, tufts of softness at the top of weeds, little yellow flowers, stones, rocks, a few animal tracks, grassy patches and more all at her feet.
Mary Rose and her family were taking a hike. (One of her favorite things to do.)
Every year they went on a family camping trip having God’s nature all around them. A gentle rain had come the night before and made everything fresh. Mary Rose breathed in. “The air smells so GOOD Mama!” said Mary Rose. “The rain has cleaned the air.” Mama replied. As they walked along they could hear birds singing in the trees and other things scurrying about just out of site. Mary Rose spied a sparkle along the path. She bent down and saw an unusual rock. How it sparkled in the sun. It would be a nice addition to her rock collection. She put it into her pocket along with several others she had picked up. Her pocket was actually quite full. Rocks are very interesting things. Even though they are all rocks, they can be so different from each other. That’s what makes having a collection so fun!
Mary Rose made up her mind, “God MUST love color.” “Otherwise WHY would He have given us so much of it?” “Maybe he just knew we would love it and was kind enough to give it to us.”
They all stopped for a rest and pulled out their water bottles. A cool drink was just what they had needed. As she was looking down she noticed a smooth damp hollow in the ground, like something had been there but had been taken out. “Hum-m-m”, she said, “I wonder what made that hole.” Before long it was time to head back to camp. Once there, Mary Rose needed another drink.
The next morning, was Sunday. After breakfast Daddy pulled out his Bible and a few song books from the small storage bin that they always included in their camping supplies. It was time to worship God. They sat around the campfire and sang as Daddy led the songs. It seemed as though their voices were going right up to Heaven. He led them in prayer and then it was time to focus on Jesus while Mama and Daddy took the Lord’s Supper. It was a quiet time. After that Daddy pulled a few more things out of the storage bin. A plastic bowel, bottle of water, dishtowel, spray bottle, and a sponge. THEN he reached into his backpack and brought out a rock. A speckled rock. A rock that looked like it had smaller rocks within it. Mary Rose had never seen a rock like this one! She very curious about it and had some questions but she needed to wait until later to ask these specific questions about the rock. Mary Rose and Mama always looked forward to the object Bible lesson given on their annual camping trip and this one looked VERY interesting.
Daddy said, “How nice it would be if we could drink and never be thirsty again.” He opened the Bible and read in John 4 about a woman who was at a well to get some water and how Jesus had told her about a certain thing called “Living Water”. It was not the kind she found in the well, but it was something that would help her live FOREVER! This woman listened to Jesus and realized he was the Son of God! Oh! She was SO HAPPY and ran to tell those of her town about Jesus and many believed He was the Son of God; and all the more because they listened to what he said themselves.
In the book of Acts we learn how the Apostle Paul traveled to many places telling others about Jesus and how He came to help us go to heaven. Paul passed on the “Living Water” that would allow others to know how to live with Jesus forever! He told the people how to obey Jesus and become a follower of Him, a Christian. (1 Corinthians 15:1-4; Romans 6; Acts 22:1-16) She learned how some listened and obeyed the things Paul was teaching and sadly how some did not. We are told in 2 Timothy 4:2 to preach the Word. And in doing this we teach others about Jesus.
*As Daddy went on he poured the water into the bowl.
He said the water in the bowl represents the Word of God.
Then he picked up the rock and passed it around. It was VERY hard.
*He put the rock into the bowl of water.
The rock didn’t do anything it just sat there.
He said the rock is like those who did not listen and obey God’s message.
They had a hard heart.
God’s Word cannot penetrate or get inside a heart that is closed and hardened toward God and what He says.
He took the rock out of the water and set it on the dish cloth.
Then He passed the sponge around. It was soft and easy to squeeze.
*He put it into the water and it began soaking up the water.It soaked up most of the water but there was still some left.
The sponge is like a soft heart.
When we have a soft heart that listens to what God says it is like us soaking up the Word of God just like the sponge.,
Remember there was water left in the bowl.
There is always more for us to discover “soak up” in the Bible.
That is why we keep reading and studying God’s Word over and over.
*He picked up the sponge and began to squeeze it out.
*As he squeezed the sponge the water came out.
The water coming out is like us speaking the Word of God to others telling them about God and His Word.
*Then he took the spray bottle.
On the side was written in bold letters. “The Word of God.”
Once we listen to, understand and then obey what God says, we should be of the mind to tell others about how to obey God as well.
*He sprayed the bottle and a gentle mist came out.
That’s how we should be when we tell others about Jesus.
Like a gentle loving mist.
Never with meanness or harshness.
Mary Rose thought of a fireman’s hose.
Water came out of it hard and fast. That’s not gentle. That would be too forceful!
Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted.
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
They ended their worship time with a prayer. As Daddy began to put things back into the storage bin Mary Rose began to ask her questions about that rock. As she looked at it she thought of the hole she saw in the ground on their hike. It looked like it would fit perfectly. “Did you find this rock on our hike?” Mary Rose asked. “Yes, I did! “ He replied. She told him about the hole she had seen. He said he had picked up the rock as he was on the path ahead of her. It is better known as a Pudding Stone. Mary Rose was able to keep the rock and made a special place for it in her collection. When she saw it she was reminded about the kind of heart she should have and the way to tell others about Jesus.
To my Sister Bible class teachers,
I hope you enjoyed sitting around the camp fire with Mary Rose and her parents on a Sunday morning. Yes worship, even on vacation! Her Daddy was such a great spiritual leader for his family. A ready packed storage bin with Bible, song books and the emblems of the Lord’s Supper would be a very helpful addition to any camping supplies. He was prepared for leading his family in a simple yet effective devotional. Object lessons can be fun and very effective.
This is yet another example of what we can do to explain a soft/hard heart involving the Word of God. We were studying the missionary journeys of Paul and the different kinds of people he had to deal with when this object lesson came to mind. After demonstrating this for my class I had one or two students demonstrate it back to me. Some thought the wet sponge was “Yuck” but eventually they wanted to take part. You may want to bring it out now and then and ask questions. Good review!
Wal-Mart carries the round sponge in their health and beauty isle. They also carry the plastic bowls with lids.
And next time you’re on a hike remember to look for a good rock!
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