The Incredible Power of an Object Lesson – Winning a Superbowl?
This may be old news to you, but there was a pivotal moment in the New York Giant’s season that led to their Superbowl victory. Some would say that the moment had nothing to do with the X’s and O’s, or the coaching, the preparation, or anything like that. Some would say, even the players, it came down to an object lesson. The object lesson came when a high school teacher was given the opportunity to speak at the NY Giant’s chapel and handed out poker chips, told them to put their name on the chip, and asked them if they were “all in?” You can hear more about it here:
I was reminded of the lasting power of an object lesson as one of my club kids perfectly recited an object lesson given by our camp speaker, Nick Manos, at Crooked Creek last summer regarding priorities and identity. This
talk was nearly nine months ago and it stuck with him and many others.
Jesus used object lessons often in his teaching. All that is needed is to say one word and you can probably think of the lesson: salt, vine, light, wine, seed, coin.
If you are interested in harnessing the power of object lessons in your club talks or campaigner times, it really is not difficult. Often the objects are right there in the words of the story. This might sound really simple, but “look for the objects in the lesson”! Seriously, just look for the physical objects in the Bible text itself. This will save you an enormous amount of time and will help your analogy be as close to “biblical” as possible. There are great times and places for a creative, homespun, unique analogy, illustration, or object lesson that you make up, I know I’ve worked very hard to create my own. But we may as well use the ones that are already in the Bible text itself. This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t translate the objects into modern items (we don’t need to look for a denarii, we can use a dollar bill), but we can have a lot of confidence when we look into the text for ideas.
Here is an example from the woman caught in adultery (John 8):
- Sat down (v. 2)
- Having her set her in the center of the court (v.3)
- Law of Moses (v. 5)
- Testing him (v.6)
- Wrote in the ground (v.6)
- Stone (v. 7)
Not all of these are objects, but they can be utilized as such. When I’ve used this talk I almost always try to have a stone in hand when I get to verse 7. Better yet, drop it so people hear the loud “thud” to connect with the intensity of the situation.
Here is another example, one I just spoke on this past Monday, Jesus feeding the 5000 (John 6):
- Large crowd (v.1)
- Sick (v. 1)
- Mountain (v. 3)
- 200 Denarii (200 days wage, perhaps $20,000) worth of bread (v. 7)
- Five loves, two fish (v. 9)
- Leftovers (v.12-13)
- Sign (v.14)
I chose to use a loaf of bread. I did the math too. We had about 50 people at club. Fifty divided by the like total people there, 20,000, is one quarter of one percent. So I tore off a small amount of the loaf and talked about us all being filled by that much bread, with more left at the end than what we started with.
It helps if you can use the object lesson as your main point because that is what you want to stick with them. It may be that your main point is not an object, like Nick’s identity illustration, think big about something that can drive home the point. It doesn’t hurt if it is literally big, or if everyone can take a piece of the object home (I’ve given out hearts, rings, etc.)
Simply look at the scripture. The object lesson may be looking back right at you!
I’d love to hear any other thoughts about this.
How do you use object lessons? Any examples? Any tips?