Hi, this is Pastor Ken and these are my thoughts on a Thursday…Sometimes you just need a bigger funnel.

Lynn and I have been doing a lot of canning lately. If the empty store shelves just a few years ago showed us anything, it illustrated that when our grandparents told us to save for a rainy day, they knew what they were talking about. Both of our grandmothers canned fruits and vegetables. My mom canned even more than that. Lynn and I have decided that those ladies knew what they were doing. They enjoyed the convenience of going to the store to buy what they needed, but they had each, as we recently did, lived through times of restricted access to many of those conveniences. In wisdom, they chose to preserve enough to get by in times of less-than-plenty.

My thoughts today are not about being prepared, though as I say that I recognize there is no shortage of spiritual truth that could be illustrated by putting food up in jars. They are also not about storing up things of value now to be enjoyed later, though that could also be easily extrapolated from the illustration. On this Thursday my thoughts are about the funnel my mom used when she canned. You should have seen it, it was huge! As we have been taking our turn preserving the skill of canning, I have wished on several occasions I had some of the tools mom used when she “put food up” as she used to describe it. Most of all I wish I had her canning funnel. It would fit into both regular and wide mouth jars at the bottom, but in my memory, it was about a foot across at the opening. I actually purchased a funnel of my own to accomplish the same task, but it isn’t the same. It is cheap plastic and is not made small enough on the narrow end to fit inside the rim of a regular mouth mason jar. I really wish I had a sturdy bigger funnel, like the one mom had. More on that later…after all this is supposed to be a podcast to help increase faith, not one on canning talk.

Let’s talk about faith then shall we?

Mark 6:4-6 (NIV)  Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.”  He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them.  He was amazed at their lack of faith.

I now live a little more than five hundred miles from my hometown where I remember mom doing all that canning. Hometowns are an interesting phenomena. One can live far away for many years and yet…somehow…return decades later and be instantly transported back in time to a plethora of memories from yesteryear. I don’t return to that town in Western New York State very often, but when I do, and drive by the old “homeplace” I am once again a teenager talking to mom in the kitchen while she canned, baked fresh bread or did any number of things she practiced as a part of her daily life in our home.

Our scripture this morning is of a homecoming of sorts. Jesus returning to His hometown with His disciples in tow, found a different reaction to memories. Not of His memories, but rather those of His former friend’s and neighbor’s. They marveled at His wisdom and powerful works, but couldn’t get past their recollection of who they had always thought Him to be. They marveled not at the wisdom, and the works…but at the fact that it was Jesus displaying the wisdom and performing the great deeds they were hearing about. After all, wasn’t this the same guy that was a simple carpenter when He left town? Wasn’t this the same Jesus they had watched grow up among them?

Jesus understood it was because they quote-unquote ‘knew’ Him so well that they had such trouble ‘recognizing’ who He really was…The Son of God. Because of that He said, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.”

Their treatment of Him was not surprising, actually, it was somewhat foreseeable. A common reaction even in our day to those returning home from lesser professions than Christ’s ministry. Our attitudes are similar when a writer, athlete, actor or some other person of notoriety returns home…”Isn’t that the guy that…?” or “I remember when he was just a kid who…”

That perceived familiarity resulted in a dismissal of knowledge. Those Nazarene’s had the same potential to know Jesus for who He really was as did the people from any other town. Jesus wanted to do miraculous things for them and display the very Power of God in their lives, but they dismissed what they were seeing because of what they had seen in the past…a young boy playing with all the other young boys. They saw a skillful carpenter who could create things; but they didn’t see The Creator who could redeem people both physically and spiritually. Their view of Jesus was incredibly limited…by them, and we must be careful not to do the same thing today. The bible tells us that because of their self-imposed limitations…He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. It says, He was amazed at their lack of faith.

Enveloped in this scripture is an important spiritual truth. God can only do for us what we believe He can. Don’t mistake what I am saying…God is omnipotent and is not restricted in any way in terms of what He has the power to do by me, only in what He can do for me. I like to think of it like the power the electric company has in regards to my house. The utility company has nearly immeasurable amounts of power surging past my home in its transmission lines. I have a home in need of electricity. I can plug into that power source if I choose to, but how much power they can transmit into my home will be directly impacted by the size wire my home is connected to their lines with. Many older homes must ‘upgrade’ their electric service connections to handle their greater need for power. My faith is to God’s power, what the size of the entrance wires of my home are to the electric company. I don’t restrict the amount power God has, only the amount of it He can share with me.

The above verses illuminate that spiritual truth. So what power of God’s do you need to see displayed in your life today? Are you believing Him for it? Are you praying expectantly? Are you looking at that huge need you have as a big thing or a little thing in comparison to Almighty God’s power? Too much focus on our problem’s size tends to cause a distorted perception of God’s ability. Look too closely at the difficulty and God seems smaller. However, with spiritual eyes correctly positioned on God, it is the adversity that pales in comparison.

So what do you need God to do for you? What power do you need Him to display in your life? Is there disease? He wants to bring healing. Is there difficulty in marriage? He wants to bring reconciliation. Is your family in need of restoration? He wants to make that a reality. He has the power to do these things and more. Jesus said, “With God all things are possible”. I don’t know about you, but I want Jesus to marvel because of the presence of my faith…not the lack of it. God can only do for you what you believe He can do for you and as the apple of His eye…He wants desperately to give you what you need.

When I think about it, it seems like faith is the funnel by which God is able to pour His power into our lives. Aside from wishing I had some of mom’s old canning tools, sometimes I just recognize I need a larger funnel…how about you?

So now, asking Jesus to give you the largest faith funnel possible while trusting Him to provide you with all that you need, thank Him in faith-filled advance for His goodness to you and…go be awesome!