Have you ever taken a pottery class? I was privileged to do some pottery work in middle school. The first thing the teacher taught us was the importance of kneading the clay thoroughly to work out all the air bubbles. Only after this was completed could we begin making our pots or sculptures. Some took the lesson to heart and put in the time and the work so that their clay was well-kneaded. A few found the task to be tedious and gave only a perfunctory level of effort to working the air out of the clay. Everyone made something and our projects were sent to the kiln after drying for a few days. The kiln must be at a temperature between 2124°F and 2264°F to properly harden the clay. To put that in perspective that’s ten times hotter than boiling water. This means that any trapped air bubbles in the clay will have that air expand until the pottery explodes.

I remember well the class period after the firing and cooling of the pottery. Several students were told that their pieces were destroyed during the firing process. This was because one student did not knead out all the air in their piece. When it exploded, it did so with enough force to shatter those projects adjacent to it. The affected students had to start all over again.

I learned from this that the haphazard work of one person could be the undoing of the work of many. This also applies to the spiritual life. When a person allows sin in his/her life, he/she never affects only his/herself. Disobeying God causes dangerous spiritual voids in a person. A time will come when the stresses of life will cause those otherwise hidden sins to damage both the person who sinned and the many people around them.

People like to think that there are little sins that are of no real consequence, but the reality is that any sin has the seed of death and destruction in it. Consider that in the garden of Eden, Adam and Eve did something as seemingly small as eating a piece of fruit. On the face of it, that doesn’t seem like a big deal at all. After all, eat a bit, enjoy the taste, digest the food, and then eliminate the waste. It’s over and done within a day. Or so it merely seems. But, by eating that fruit which God had forbidden, Adam and Eve broke the universe, brought death, decay, and destruction upon themselves and everyone born after them, and this greatly damaged their relationship with God. No sin is little. All sins are that detrimental, and every sin impacts the whole of creation. This means that every sin, in some manner or another, hurts every person.

Because sin is so bad there is a place of eternal torment called Hell. Hell was created by God for the great deceiver, the devil, and those fallen angels who, along with him, rebelled against God. And Hell is a place of eternal fire. In those fires, those who reject Jesus Christ will twist and twitch as the full rottenness of sin is visited upon their awareness over and over forever.

But God does not want any person to go to Hell. He sent His Son Jesus Christ to die for our sins, paying the price of our punishment so that we could be saved from sin, death, destruction, estrangement from God, and, yes, from an eternal Hell. Faith, which is loyal devotion, complete surrender, and absolute trust in Jesus is how God saves us. Faith like this evaluates every choice by discerning God’s will and then choosing to trust and obey God. Choosing God’s way matters in everything, no matter how small it seems to us is life-giving. Choosing disobedience, no matter how minuscule, is devastating. The pleasures of sin are momentary, but the destructive results are perpetual. Choose Jesus and it may feel difficult in the short run, but the blessings and rewards are eternal.

Contact Pastor Lamb at icumc@yahoo.com.