The Pendulum Test

by | Jan 29, 2023 | 2023, Musings | 0 comments

A student wanted to prove the point that what we believe, really believe in our hearts and minds makes a difference in our behavior. He decided to use a pendulum to prove his case.

First, he reminded them that, a “pendulum can never return to a point higher than the point from which it was released. Because of friction and gravity, when the pendulum returns, it will fall short of its original release point.

Then, the student “attached a three-foot string to a child’s toy top and secured it to the top of the blackboard with a thumbtack.” Each time it swung back, he made another mark. Soon it was obvious that his thesis was correct.  Everyone in the room believed the law of the pendulum was true, including the teacher.

Then the student revealed a 250 lb. pendulum that was attached to some steel beams in the middle of the room. He invited the instructor to climb up on a table and sit in a chair with the back of his head against a cement wall. But this time, instead of using the light-weight toy, the student slowly pulled on a heavy weight rope and brought that 250-pound lead weight right to edge of the professor’s face.

“Holding the huge pendulum just a fraction of an inch from his face, the student once again explained the law of the pendulum they all had applauded only moments before, and said, “If the law of the pendulum is true, then when I release this mass of metal, it will swing across the room and return short of the release point. Your nose will be in no danger.”

And so, he asked the professor, “’Sir, do you believe this law is true?’ There was a long pause. Huge beads of sweat formed on his upper lip and then he nodded weakly and whispered, ‘Yes.’

The pendulum was released. “It made a swishing sound as it arced across the room. At the far end of its swing, it paused momentarily and started back.”  But to the amusement of the entire class, that teacher dove off the tabletop in order to miss the swinging pendulum. When the class was asked, “Does the prof believe the law of the pendulum?” The students answered unanimously, “NO!”

What we think matters. What we believe effects our behavior. If the professor really believed in the law of the pendulum, he would have sat there calmly throughout the exercise. But he didn’t. His mind needed a renewal, a change so that his thought could accurately guide his behavior.

Maybe this week, you and I could use a refresher course on the power of the mind. As believers, we desperately need our actions to match our thoughts. The spiritual transformation we all long for comes as we renew our minds. As we intentionally match our thoughts to God’s Word, we are changed and become more and more like Him. What we really believe, will happen!



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