“He existed before all things, and all things are held together in him.” Colossians 1:17 CEB
This year at the St. Andrew’s Easter Egg Hunt the families started off in the Great Room of the Family Life Center. There were crafts the families and kids could make, including cookies to decorate and eat. There were also games the kids could play with each other or with their parents. One of the games was a giant version of a game I grew up with. It used chicken wire standing tall in a large bucket making a tall cylinder. Through the chicken wire were a bunch of wooden dowels crisscrossing in what appeared to be a random design. As the dowels crossed over and under each other they took up all the space inside the chicken wire. The last piece of the game was to place many plastic balls on top of the dowels. The object of the game was to have players alternate in pulling one dowel at a time without any plastic balls dropping. The player that had the fewest balls drop during their pulls wins. The classic game this is modeled after is called “Kerplunk.” As I watched the kids playing this game I began to think of the reality of our faith journey. It takes the dowels to hold the balls in the air. With each dowel that is removed there is less support for the balls and some of them drop. When the last dowel is withdrawn there is nothing left to hold up the balls and the game is over. The one thing that holds it all together—and makes the game possible—is the chicken wire. There has to be something that supports the dowels, which in turn support the balls.
Why did this make me think of our faith journey? I remember playing the game Kerplunk as a kid. It was stressful. You never knew if you were the one that would cause the marbles to fall. You also didn’t know if you would end up with the most marbles in your bin and ultimately lose the game. I think this aspect of the game can mimic the way life feels at times. We have all of these balls in the air—kid’s activities, work responsibilities, family life, church activities, exercise, keeping the house in order, our devotional life, etc.—and we wonder if we can keep them all in the air. We worry that one of the dowels will be pulled and one or all of the balls we are trying to keep in the air will fall and hit the ground. It will all come apart and somehow we will lose. Life can be stressful and we don’t always feel qualified to handle everything that is thrown our way. Yet, when we think of what it means to be qualified we often get it wrong. We often have bought into the cultural definition of what it means to be qualified. We feel like we need more training, education, or experience to be able to keep all of those balls in the air. When it comes to disciples of Jesus Christ, there is another way.
Let’s go back to the game for a moment. It appears that the main pieces of the game, the most important pieces, are the dowels. Without the chicken wire frame neither the dowels nor the balls would be able to be held in place. Many times we think the goal in our faith journey is to keep all the pieces together. I assure you that is not our role. In our faith journey Jesus is what holds it all together. What is truly important is knowing the One who holds everything together in all areas of our life. As the author of Colossians writes concerning Jesus, “He existed before all things, and all things are held together in him.” We too often approach our faith journey, and our life, like a game of Kerplunk—believing that everything depends on us. That is incredibly stressful. Trying to keep everything in place and trying to make the right move every time so nothing will get dropped is very stressful. The key is knowing the One thing that needs to remain in place to support all of the rest. In our faith journey, and in all of our life, that One thing is Jesus.
So know this, you are not qualified to do everything in life! You may not be qualified to give medical opinions, legal advice, run a company, or a cash register. When it comes to your faith in Jesus Christ—you are qualified. When we place our faith in Jesus Christ as the Lord and Savior of our life, Jesus qualifies us for everything we will face in our faith journey. Jesus qualifies us to be children of God and persons of great worth. Jesus qualifies us to be brothers and sisters in Christ. Jesus qualifies us to be joint heirs with Christ Jesus for all of eternity. Jesus qualifies us to face anything that life throws at us, to do anything Jesus commands us, and to go anywhere the Holy Spirit leads us in Jesus' name. All of this is because Jesus existed before everything else and he holds all things together. There is nothing that can happen in your life that Jesus hasn’t already qualified you to face. Jesus does not promise that it will be easy, but He promises you can do it through him who holds all things together. You are qualified.
This Sunday we begin a new message series entitled “Qualified.” We will look at how Jesus qualifies all of us as we walk through The Book of Colossians together. In Jesus you are qualified to face each and every day. I hope you will join me this Sunday at 8:15|NINE45|11:15 in worship. You can also go to SAUMC.NET and join us via livestream. The best is yet to come. I love you all and can’t wait to see you in church!