Here’s a sermon illustration that I used last Sunday morning to help show the difference between knowing about the cost of mercy and knowing about the value of mercy. I’m sure you could make it fit other topics. I don’t remember where I found it (I’ve had it several years) or I would give credit.
THE DIAMOND MERCHANT
A rich Dutch merchant was seeking to buy a diamond of a certain kind to add to his collection. A famous dealer in New York found such a stone and called him to come and see it.
The merchant flew immediately to New York, where the seller had assigned his best diamond expert to close the transaction. After hearing the assistant describe in perfect technical detail the diamond’s worth and beauty, the Dutchman decided not to buy it. Before he left, however, the owner of the store stepped forward and asked, “Do you mind if I show you that stone once more?” The customer agreed.
The store-owner didn’t repeat one thing that the salesman had said. He simply took the stone in his hand, stared at it, and described the beauty of the stone in a way that revealed why this stone stood out from all the others he had seen in his life. The customer bought it immediately.
Tucking his new purchase into shirt pocket, the customer commented to the owner, “Sir, how were you able to sell me this stone when your salesman could not?”
The owner replied, “That salesman is the best salesman in the business. He knows more about diamonds than anyone, including myself, and I pay him a large salary for his knowledge and expertise. But I would gladly pay him twice as much if I could put into him something I have which he lacks. You see, he knows diamonds, but I love them.”
A group of thieves broke into a building and stole computers and equipment. What they didn’t know at the time was they were stealing from a non-profit organization that helps victims of sexual assault. Once they discovered this, they felt bad for what they had done. The following night, they brought back everything they stole in a shopping cart and even included a hand written apology note which said (grammatical mistakes included), “We had no idea what we were takeing. Here your stuff back we hope that you guys can continue to make a differenence in peoples live. God bless” (ABC Local).
First of all, it’s ironic that the same people who were sinning called for God’s blessings. Aside from this, one wonders what was going through these thieves’ minds. Did they think returning the items made everything OK? Even though these robbers made a good decision in returning the stolen items, they were the ones who committed the felony in the first place. Sometimes people misunderstand what true repentance is. These thieves likely thought they were making things right and repenting of what they had done, even if they didn’t put it in so many words. However, it’s clear this was not an action of repentance, but just a rare blip on the conscience meter.
What does true repentance really look like? First, true repentance is a 180-degree turn (Acts 3:19). A person who is walking towards sin completely changes direction, putting his back to sin, and begins walking towards God. Second, true repentance is found in the person who is sickened by their actions and is committed to changing his ways (2 Corinthians 7:10). After sinning with Bathsheba, David wrote a psalm that perfectly displays this point (Psalm 51).
It’s fairly easy to feel and act “sorry” for the things we have done. Sometimes we will even go so far as to try and smooth things over with those we have wronged. However, let’s keep in mind that true repentance is about a sincere 180-degree change, feeling guilty, and being committed and determined not to repeat past mistakes. May we have the courage to repent and turn our backs to sin when the need arises.
from BP’s Fuel For Thought – Brett Petrillo – Bear Valley church of Christ – Denver, CO
Here’s a great little article that’s entitled: Is God Showing Through In Your Life? I don’t know the author and I don’t know where it came from, but it’s worth passing along and using if you’re able.
A little girl, on the way home from services, turned to her mother and said, “Mommy, the preacher’s sermon this morning confused me.”
The mother said, “Oh, why is that?” the girl replied, “Well, he said that God is bigger than we are. Is that true?” “Yes, that’s true,” the mother replied. “He also said that God lives within us.” “Is that true too?” she asked. Again the mother replied, “Yes.” “Well,” said the little girl, “If God is bigger than us and He lives in us, wouldn’t He show through?”
I like that little girl’s way of putting it. If God lives in us, then there’s no way of keeping Him from “showing through.” That’s the essence of Christian living – living in such way that people around us will see God in our lives.
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)
Is God showing through in YOUR life?
If you know who wrote the story feel free to speak up in the comments and I’ll give the credit where credit is due…
…and remember to shine today!
So what’s the lesson here?
Fiction can’t get any more bizarre than this. A Denver, Colo., mail carrier walked past a dead man on his route, without stopping to help, check, or call 911. He thought it was a left-over Halloween, er, decoration. The man, Dale Porch, was on his, er, front porch.
What the postman saw, his eyes denied,
On the postal route a grisly scene:
Dale Porch on his front porch had died,
Not a joke left over from Halloween!
The lesson, perhaps, is that appearances can be deceiving? Or that we shouldn’t be so intent in doing our jobs that we miss the needs of people around us?