August 4 I Sunday

Psalms 66-67

Romans 7

“Show me Your ways, LORD, teach me Your paths. Guide me in Your truth and teach me...”   —Psalm 25:4-5


A German Lutheran pastor starts each Confirmation class with a jar full of beans. He asks the young people to guess how many beans are in the jar. Then, on a big sheet of paper, with their names down one side, he writes their estimate of how many beans are in the jar. When that list is complete, he says, “This time, I want to make another list of your favourite songs.” The people would say their favourite songs and he would record that against their names.

When the list is complete, he reveals to them the number of beans that are in the jar. They look at the list to see whose guess was the closest to the actual number. Then the pastor turns to them and asks, “Now, which of these favourite songs is correct?” The young people protest and say, “There is no right answer to that question. A person’s favourite song is purely a matter of taste.” The pastor then inquires them, “When you decide what to believe in terms of the Christian faith, is it more like guessing the number of beans in the jar or like choosing your favourite song?” He always gets the same answer, which is, “choosing what to believe is like choosing your favourite song.”

Present day, the idea of truth has become subjective. Some people say, “This may be true for you, but it’s not true for me.” Of course, there are certain things that are true for one person and not true for another. Like, “this is my favourite piece of music,” is a personal and subjective statement that may be true to the speaker but not universally true.

Yet, there is such a thing as objective truth, such as the exact number of beans in a jar. This is not up for personal preference but an objective fact. The Christian faith does not fall into the category of personal choice or preferential beliefs but falls into the category of objective truth, where there is truth or error, right or wrong.

There are scriptural passages that speak of objective truth, such as Isaiah telling us, “I, the LORD, speak the truth; I declare what is right” (Isaiah 45:19). Jesus embodied truth when He said, “I am...the truth...” (John 14:6). Peter said, “I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have” (2 Peter 1:12). Like the exact number of beans in a jar, we need to recognize our Christian faith is not subjective. May we seek to firmly establish our Christian faith on God’s truth from His Word.

Prayer: Dear God, thank You for giving me Your Word so that I can come to know You. Help me to firmly establish my faith on Your truth and not my personal subjectivity.

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