Illustration results for faith works
T. Ray Cole
PARABLE OF THE CANDLES
There was a blackout one night. When the lights went out, I fumbled to the closet where we keep the candles for nights like this ... I lit four of them. I was turning to leave with the large candle in my hand when I heard a voice,
"Now, hold it right there."
"Who said that?"
"I did." The voice was near my hand.
"Who are you? What are you?"
"I'm a candle."
I lifted up the candle to take a closer look. There was a tiny face in the wax. "Don't take me out of here!"
"I said, Don't take me out of this room."
"What do you mean? I have to take you out. You're a candle. Your job is to give light. It's dark out there."
"But you can't take me out. I'm not ready," the candle explained with pleading eyes. "I need more preparation."
I couldn't believe my ears. "More preparation?"
"Yeah, I've decided I need to research this job of light-giving so I won't go out and make a bunch of mistakes. You'd be surprised how distorted the glow of an untrained candle can be..."
"All right then," I said. "You're not the only candle on the shelf. I'll blow you out and take the others!"
But right then I heard other voices, "We aren't going either!"
I turned to the other candles, "You are candles and your job is to light dark places!"
"Well, that may be what you think," said the first one, "You may think we have to go, but I'm busy ... I'm meditating on the importance of light. It's really enlightening."
"And you other two," I asked, "Are you going to stay, too?"
A short, fat, purple candle with plump cheeks spoke up. "I'm waiting to get my life together, I'm not stable enough."
The last candle had a female voice, very pleasant to the ear. "I'd like to help, "she explained, "but lighting the darkness is not my gift ... I'm a singer. I sing to other candles to encourage them to burn more brightly."
She began a rendition of "This Little Light of Mine." The other three joined in, filling the closet with singing.
I took a step back and considered the absurdity of it all. Four perfectly healthy candles singing to each other about light but refusing to come out of the closet.
Here is a question for you--when was the last time you shared the gospel to someone? This world is full of darkness, with many people stumbling around trying to find their way. You can be a light for them, and believe me, there's a light waiting for you. It can all happen with something as sharing the faith, to just a smile across the room, to a quick hello to a forgotten friend. "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. LET YOUR LIGHT SO SHINE BEFORE MEN THAT THEY MAY SEE YOUR GOOD WORKS, AND GLORIFY YOUR FATHER WHICH IS IN HEAVEN." Matthew 5:14-16
- Author unknown
Let’s play ‘Let’s Pretend’. Let’s pretend that you work for me. In fact, you are my executive assistant in a company that is growing rapidly. I’m the owner and I’m interested in expanding overseas. To pull this off, I make plans to travel abroad and stay there until a new branch office gets established. I make all the arrangements to take my family and move to Europe for six to eight months. And I leave you in charge of the busy stateside organization. I tell you that I will write you regularly and give you directions and instructions. I leave and you stay.Months pass. A flow of letters are mailed from Europe and received by you at the national headquarters. I spell out all my expectations.
Finally, I return. Soon after my arrival, I drive down to the office and I am stunned. Grass and weeds have grown up high. A few windows along the street are broken. I walk into the Receptionist’s room. She is doing her nails, chewing gum and listening to her favorite disco station. I look around and notice the wastebaskets are overflowing. The carpet hasn’t been vacuumed for weeks, and nobody seems concerned that the owner has returned. I asked about your whereabouts and someone in the crowded lounge area points down the hall and yells, "I think he’s down there." Disturbed, I move in that direction and bump into you as you are finishing a chess game with our sales manager. I ask you to step into my office, which has been temporarily turned into a television room for watching afternoon soap operas."What in the world is going on, man?"
"What do you mean?"
"Well, look at this place! Didn’t you get any of my letters?""Letters? Oh yes! Sure! I got every one of them. As a matter of fact, we have had a letter study every Friday since you left. We have even divided the personnel into small groups to discuss many of the things you wrote. Some of the things were really interesting. You will be pleased to know that a few of us have actually committed to memory some of your sentences and paragraphs. One or two memorized an entire letter or two - Great stuff in those letters."
"OK. You got my letters. You studied them and meditated on them; discussed and even memorized them. But what did you do about them?"
"Do? We didn’t do anything about them." (Improving Your Serve, Chuck Swindoll)
For more from Chuck, visit http://www.insight.org
I have obtained a copy of a recently discovered document from the 1st century. It’s from the first publisher of the Bible – this was before there was Zondervan and Tyndale and all those publishers. It’s a letter from them to the Bible’s original author…
While we appreciate that the writing of Your manuscript has involved the work of some 40 authors and taken over 1500 years to complete, as with all writers, we feel it is important to present to You some editorial suggestions for the sake of Your book’s marketability. Please understand that these are presented with Your interests in mind, as well as the necessity of this book paying for itself as we fulfill our contract with You.
At first, our review board thought it would be best to leave out some of the less-believable material – talking donkeys, floating ax heads, parting of the sea, bread from heaven, and things like that. However we are willing to leave those in. We’re just concerned that You not undermine Your work’s credibility.
However, there are still some certain elements that we deem best left out, even though they are factual. Clearly You haven’t included every thing that ever happened, so why not omit a few features that might otherwise harm Your book’s sales? – for instance, the inclusion in Joshua of the story of a prostitute named Rahab. It seems the account of the spies in her home is just as easily left out without altering the story of the conquest of Jericho. Why make such a character a key figure in your main story line? To bring her name up again in the New Testament as an illustration of good living seems to be using poor judgment too. (If you look in Hebrews 11:31, she’s one of only 2 women mentioned there – people who had faith – along with Noah, Abraham, Jacob, and others. Then James mentions her in 2:25 as a person who was “considered righteous” for what she did.)
Worst of all is her name appearing in the genealogy of Jesus along with 2 other women of questionable background. (Sure enough, right there in Matthew 1:5 is Rahab – she married a guy named Salmon and had a son named Boaz. Boaz became the father of Obed, and Obed the father of Jesse, the father of David – and Jesus descended from that earthly line.) As Your publisher, we should point out that it isn’t even considered customary to include the names of women in such lists. Our suggestion is that they simply be omitted, as in most genealogies.
If we have somehow failed to catch the spirit of Your work, our apologies. We are, of course, simply interested in Your work being polished in a way that it will be most widely read and accepted. Thank You for working with us to make Your book the best we can make it.
I wonder what would happen if we applied the same standards of loyalty to our Christian activities that we expect from other areas of our lives?
If your car starts once every three tries, is it reliable? If the postman skipped delivery every Monday and Thursday, is he trustworthy? If you don’t go to work once or twice a month, are you a reliable employee? If your fridge stops working for a day or two every now and then, do you say, “Oh well, it work most of the time.”? If your water heater provides an icy cold shower every now and then, is it dependable? If you skipped a couple of electricity bill payments do you think Western Power would mind? If you fail to worshi...
Sermon Central Staff
CAN'T WIN FOR LOSING
A man named Fred inherited a huge land grant, but the will provided that he could choose land in either Chile or Brazil. He chose Brazil. Unhappily, if he had chosen Chile, he would have received his inheritance in land on which they had recently discovered uranium, gold and silver. But he chose Brazil.
When he arrived in Brazil he had to choose between receiving his inheritance in a coffee plantation or land with Brazil nut trees. He chose the nut trees, and immediately the bottom fell out of the nut market, but coffee futures went up two dollars a pound. The government took control of the nut farm for back taxes, and Fred was left destitute.
Fred pawned his Rolex watch for the money he needed to fly either to New York or Boston. He chose Boston. When the plane for New York taxied up, he noticed it was a brand new super Concorde with red carpets. After several hours delay, the plane for Boston arrived. It was a 1928 twin engine plane held together with bailing wire, and it was filled with cigar smokers and unattended crying babies.
Over the mountains one of the engines fell off, and Fred, frightened by his earlier bad choices and fearing for his life, asked for two parachutes. He jumped. As he fell through the air, he tried to make up his mind which ripcord to pull. He pulled the cord on the left, but nothing happened. He pulled the cord on his right, but it broke.
In desperation the poor fellow cried out, "St. Francis, save me!" A great hand from heaven reached down, seized him by the wrist, and left him dangling in mid-air. Then a gentle but inquisitive voice asked, "St. Francis, Xavier or St. Francis of Assisi?"
(Source: Dick Meyer, An Anchor in a Sea of Change, Faith@Work, Spring 2000, p.23; www.PreachingToday.com)
The poor guy couldn’t win for losing, but that’s life sometimes. Life is risky, because it’s full of choices where we don’t always know the outcome.
It’s the same with choosing to follow Christ. There is great risk involved, because we don’t always know how people are going to respond to that choice. Some may appreciate the choice because of the changes it brings into our lives. But others may very well reject us for choosing to follow Jesus, because they resent those very changes.
(From a sermon by C. Philip Green, Take A Risk, 11/5/2009)
One day a woman was rushing home from a doctor’s appointment. The doctor had been somewhat delayed at the hospital, and the lab work took a little longer than usual so by the time she left the clinic she was running quite a bit behind schedule. She still had to pick up her prescription, pick up the children from the baby-sitter, and get home and make supper, all in time to make it to the prayer meeting at her church that evening. As she began to circle the busy Wal-Mart parking lot, looking for a space, the windows of heaven were opened, as it says in Genesis, and a downpour began. While she wasn’t usually the type to bother God with small problems, she began to pray as she turned down the row closest to the front door. "Lord, you know what kind of a day I’ve had, and there’s still an awful lot to do. Could you please grant me a parking space right away, oh, and close to the building so I don’t get soaked." The words weren’t even completely out of her mouth when she saw the backup lights of a car come on at the end of the row. It was the best space in the whole parking lot, right next to the handicap spots and straight out from the front door. She made straight for it and as she pulled in, she said, "never mind God, something just opened up."
The devout priest was caught in a flood one day, and he climbed onto the roof of his Vicarage and as the water started lapping up over the roof he prayed “Lord, deliver me from this flood”.
The water continued to rise and a policeman in a rowing boat passed: “Can I help you Vicar?” “No thanks, the Lord will deliver me!”
A little while later, the water is even higher, and the Vicar is up to his waist, even standing on his roof. A lifeboat cruises past, and the coxwain shouts out “Can I help you, Vicar?” “No Thanks” was his reply “The Lord will deliver me – I’ve prayed for it”
After another few minutes, the water has risen so much that only the Vicar’s head is peeping out from above the water and a helicopter flies over. The pilot leans out and calls “Can I help you Vicar?” “No thanks, the Lord will deliver me!”
At which point, the water rises over the Vicar’s head and he drowns.
When the Vicar arrives at the gates of heaven and faces St Peter he is furious: “I’ve been a most serious and devout priest all my life, devoted to prayer and good works – why didn’t God answer my prayers. “Oh,” says Peter “That ‘s strange: we sent two boats and a helicopter after you…”
A businessman well known for his ruthlessness once announced to writer Mark Twain, “Before I die I mean to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. I will climb Mount Sinai and read the 10 Commandments aloud at the top.”
“I have a better idea,” replied Twain. “You could stay in Bo...
Too many people come to Church three times primarily. They're Baptized, they get married, and they have their funeral service at the Church.The first time they throw water on you, the second time rice
the third time dirt!
The pastor of a church that didn’t have the reputation for being very generous with their giving decided that it was time to do something drastic in order to teach the congregation the importance of giving. He contacted an electrician and had all of the pews wired.
The next Sunday which was the first Sunday of the New Year, the time when the church had traditionally taken up pledges from the people the Pastor stood up and made the following announcement. "From now on instead of putting your pledges in sealed envelopes and turning them into the church office all pledges will be made publicly during the worship service." Then he said, so let’s get started. "All of you who will pledge to give ten dollars a week, please stand up." As soon as he said this he pushed a button that the electrician had installed in the pulpit and it sent a jolt of electricity through the wires and into the pews. Immediately about one half of the congregation jumped to their feet. The pastor reached down and adjusted a knob on the podium and then said, "All you who will pledge to give twenty dollars a week please stand." A second stronger volt of electricity caused several more people to rise to their feet. This whole process was repeated several times. Each time the pledge amount was raised along with the voltage. The ushers had to work fast just to record all of the names and pledges.
After the service the pastor and his staff were busy adding up the totals and congratulating themselves on the great success of the annual stewardship campaign—Their enthusiasm ended abruptly however, when one of the Deacons opened the door and announced that four church members had been electrocuted because they refused to stand up.