While visiting a friend recently, I happen to look up and noticed the ceiling fan, which was intended to have five blades, had one blade missing. Of course, the preacher in me had to take a picture; it is amazing the kind of things that can end up being a sermon illustration. I got caught by the homeowner taking the photo and reacted with a sheepish grin and a chuckle.

Ceiling fans are designed to circulate air in a room by the quiet rotation of some number of balanced blades. So, would this crippled fan be capable of moving air if turned on? After all, it has four out of five blades – and that’s a majority. The answer is Yes. Sort of. Once it started rotating, it would move air – and most of the people sitting underneath it. The wobbling and swinging and horrendous noise would likely make one think it was about to come totally apart. Apparently, one blade does matter.

Okay, time to start making applications – and there are a bunch, here are a few:

A person can be mentally sharp, physically fit, gainfully employed and socially connected; but if the relationship-with-God blade is missing, life will wobble and swing.

Married life can include a nice house, pleasant children and lots of parties. But if one or both of the spouses have a “me-first” attitude, there will be horrendous noise after the guests all leave.

A church can have a beautiful building, great music and solid biblical teaching; but if there is not a spirit of unity – people living in balance with each other and in rhythm with the Holy Spirit – one might think at times that the whole thing is coming apart.

I’ll bet you can come up with a few of your own. However, in every example we will find the recurring theme of “so what if I’m missing __________? I don’t really need that; after all, the four blades I have are enough” (usually followed by complaints about how shaky and scaring life is).

Reminds me of Jesus’s words: “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, but lose his soul?”(Mark 8:36) One missing “blade” can have an eternal impact. Might be worth doing a blade count this week.

Pastor Jim

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