Last year about this time I went with a few people in my church to do “street witnessing” at one of the multitude of local fairs that happen each autum. The guy who leads the breakfast group I attend has been doing this for several years and last year was the first time in many years I had done anything like that. I had such a good time I went again this year.
Once again I had a wonderful time. Clearly based on the focus of this blog I enjoy talking about what I understand as the truth about my Lord and His gift and in the context of the fair we have nice weather and many people with time on their hands 🙂
The way this is set up we hand out walking sticks to people who will take the time to listen to what we have to say. I like to say the sticks are free in the sense they cannot be purchased with money, you have to pay attention to get one. I like that because it states the nature of the Gift of God before we even start.
What we do is prepare the sticks in advance with the 5 bead gospel mnemonic often used in Sunday Schools. We start with the black bead because it identifies the need (I like to think it is more consistent with the Biblical timeline, but why quibble).
Last year I went in cold and it took awhile to get a rhythm going. This year I did some prep work and I think it helped me relax and get out of the way (if you know what I mean). I’m copying that prep work here. Each section is very brief because even when people have time on their hands it is still a precious commodity.
This was my homework.
Five Beads Of Life
This is a story told through 5 beads to explain the meaning of life and how it makes a difference. It is the story of the Good News of Jesus the Christ.
The first 3 beads represent the meaning of life.
The 1st bead is the black bead – it represents Sin.
What is Sin? Most people think Sin is doing bad things, but doing bad things is the result of sin not sin itself.
Sin is rebellion against God. Back in the Garden man chose the knowledge of good and evil because he believed the lie that it would make him like God. This rebellion against God broke the personal relationship between man and God.
But now man is stuck because he can’t use his knowledge of good and evil to figure out how to be good enough to restore that relationship. Man has to rely on God. This makes perfect sense because it is presumptuous to think man can reach up to God, God must reach down to man.
The 2nd bead is the red bead – it represents Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.
God knew that man could not find his way back to God on his own so He sent His only begotten son, Jesus Christ to make a way back for man. Jesus explained that the way back to that personal relationship with God was through faith in His Son – through Faith in Jesus Christ. In the Gospel of John (14:6) Jesus says, ”I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
But sinful men, confronted by the truth of His claims with signs and miracles and their own wicked hearts chose rebellion and crucified Him, putting Him to death and burying Him in a tomb.
However, God raised Him from the dead to demonstrate once and for all the validity of Christ’s claims.
The 3rd bead is the white and represents the restoration of our fellowship with God.
So if we choose to believe God through faith in Jesus Christ, not our knowledge of good and evil, the power of sin is broken and we are once again acceptable to God and our personal relationship with Him is restored.
So the meaning of life is fellowship with God – It is why we were created. We are not an accident. An accident has no meaning. It may be good or bad but without purpose it is merely an accident – not on purpose. The burden and glory of life is that it does have meaning.
The last two beads represent how this makes a difference.
The 4th bead is green and represents new life in Christ
With our personal relationship with God restored we can have the things that make life enjoyable – worth living. In Romans 8:32 Paul reasons, “He who did not spare His own son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also graciously give us all things?” And Christ Himself speaking of his own in the Gospel of John (10:10) says, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
So what are the things that make life worth living? These are Faith, Hope and Love. With a little reflection I think you will agree that a life without Hope or Love would be pretty grim regardless of other circumstance and that Hope and Love make any circumstance more bearable, even redeemable. If you think about it a little more you will see how the key to Hope and Love is Faith.
The 5th bead is gold and represents eternity.
Gold represents eternity because it neither tarnishes nor rusts. It doesn’t decay. You may have heard it written in the Gospel of John (3:16) that, “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son , that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” And Christ says (John 11:25), “I am the way the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me, though he were dead yet shall he live.”
So the application of the meaning of life is that by believing we have peace with God through Christ and by believing in His love and care for us we can trust Him. We no longer have to worry about “looking out for #1” because we acknowledge He is #1. If we believe God “has our back” as it were and will have it for eternity what do we have to be worried about?
As the poet Bob Dylan sang, through faith in Christ I can “change my way of thinking”, and that change in perspective makes all the difference. Just as two people in the same situation but with different attitudes have a different experience, so Faith in Jesus Christ gives us a different experience of life.
But remember our Faith is not “positive thinking” based on false hope or myth but on the reality of God in Jesus Christ.