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A vicar was retiring after 25 years in the parish. As he came to clear out his bedroom he found a small bowl with 5 eggs and £1,000 pounds in.
Baffled he called his wife and said: Darling, what is this little basket under the bed with five eggs and £1,000 in.
"Oh " she said " I must confess that everytime you preach a bad sermon I put an egg in the basket"
Secretly the vicar was pleased: "Not bad five bad sermons in 25 years" he thought:
"And what about the £1,000?"
"Well every time I get a dozen, I sell them!"
Robert Schuller tells a story about a banker who always tossed a coin in the cup of a legless beggar who sat on the street outside the bank. But, unlike most people, the banker would always insist on getting one of the pencils the man had beside him. "You are a merchant," the banker would say, "and I always expect to receive good value from merchants I do business with." One day the legless man was not on the sidewalk. Time passed and the banker forgot about him, until he walked into a public building and there in the concessions stand sat the former beggar. He was obviously the owner of his own small business now. "I have always hoped you might come by someday," the man said. "You are largely responsible for me being here. You kept telling me that I was a ’merchant’. I started thinking of myself that way, instead of a beggar receiving gifts. I started selling pencils -- lots of them. You gave me self-respect, caused me to look at myself differently." That reminds us of the scripture:
Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:
It seems there was a barber in a small local town who had been the only barber in town for years. Everyone went to this barber to get their hair cut. Then, one day a big hair salon franchise came to town and opened up shop. They advertised,
“All Haircuts for $3.00”
Slowly, the barber’s business began to dwindle. He just couldn’t compete. In a last ditch effort to save his business, he hired a business consultant. The consultant spent a day pouring over the barber’s books asking many questions. At the end of the day the barber asked the consultant, “So what do you think ? Should I close up shop ?” The consultant said, “Not yet. I’ll be back tomorrow.” The next day the consultant showed up with a huge banner that he hung in front of the barber shop that said, “We Fix $3.00 Haircuts!”
Faith honors God and God honors faith! A story from the life of missionaries Robert and Mary Moffat illustrates this truth. For 10 years this couple labored faithfully in Bechuanaland (now called Botswana) without one ray of encouragement to brighten their way. They could not report a single convert. Finally the directors of their mission board began to question the wisdom of continuing the work. The thought of leaving their post, however, brought great grief to this devoted couple, for they felt sure that God was in their labors, and that they would see people turn to Christ in due season. They stayed; and for a year or two longer, darkness reigned. Then one day a friend in England sent word to the Moffats that she wanted to mail them a gift and asked what they would like. Trusting that in time the Lord would bless their work, Mrs. Moffat replied, "Send us a communion set; I am sure it will soon be needed." God honored that dear woman’s faith. The Holy Spirit mo...
“People are always more encouraged when we share how God’s grace helped us in weakness than when we brag about our strengths.” Rick Warren - The Purpose Driven Life
At one time J. Wilbur Chapman experienced a great sorrow that nearly shook his faith. In addition, his finances were almost depleted just when it was necessary for him to take a long trip to the western United States. One of the elders of his church who was a wealthy banker came to his home to offer a word of comfort and encouragement. As he left, he slipped a piece of paper into the pastor’s hand. Chapman looked at it and was surprised to find that it was a check made out to him and signed by this rich friend.
But the figures to indicate the amount of the gift were missing. "Did you really mean to give me a signed blank check?" he asked. "Yes," said the man. "I didn’t know how much you’d need, and I wanted to be sure you would have enough." Later Chapman commented, "While I never had to use that check, it gave me a secure feeling to know that thousands of dollars were literally at my disposal."
“Take One Down and Pass It Around!” Acts 14:21-25 Key verse(s) 21a:“They preached the good news in that city and won a large number of disciples . . .”
“Take one down and pass it around, ninety-nine bottles of beer on the wall.” Although this wasn’t one of those endearing songs to dads on vacation and school activity bus drivers, it was a ditty that we sang without invitation since there wasn’t a kid who didn’t know it or didn’t like singing it despite its sometimes irritating refrain and terribly long duration. I don’t know the origin of the song or in specific how long it has been around. I know that it was well-known to my parents who might join in on occasion when so moved. Obviously its origins lay somewhere back in bygone days in the room of some crossroads tavern. The song began slowly and deliberately, always with a smile firmly planted in place. The reason being that we knew full well that it would get more raucous and the tempo would increase with each passing verse. Finally reaching “No bottles of beer on the wall with zero “bottles” to pass around, the song had become almost breathless. Yet, so addictive was its mantra that it wasn’t unusual to start the process all over again. When we sang that song everything else seemed to melt away; all you could focus on was that next numeric bottle of beer on the wall and little else mattered.
What was it about that song that made it so addictive to sing? And, for that matter, why would a bunch of kids like singing it in the first place? In reality it wasn’t the product we were singing about. Rather, it was the “passing it around” that made the song so much fun to sing. The “passing around” was a happy thought because it meant that we were giving and getting at the same time. Not a bad prospect for any kid.
“Giving and getting.” As a Christian there is probably no more advantageous position to be in either. To take some of what we have, even if it is nothing more than a smile, a chuckle or a kind word, and “pass it around” knowing full well that what we start will ultimately come back to us and we can do it all over again with gusto––never ending. Yet, why are there so many discouraged Christians today? Why aren’t they sharing in our “passing” encouragement? Chuck Swindoll writes: “The lack of encouragement (today) is almost an epidemic. To illustrate this point, when did you last encourage someone else? I firmly believe that an individual is never more Christlike than when full of compassion for those who are down, needy, discouraged, or forgotten. How terribly essential is our commitment to encouragement! Is there some soul known to you in need of encouragement? A student off at school . . . a forgotten servant of God laboring in an obscure and difficult ministry . . . a widow who needs your companionship . . . someone who tried something new and failed? Encourage generously! ENCOURAGEMENT! A new watchword for our times. Shout it out. Pass it around.”(Swindoll’s Ultimate Book of Illustrations and Quotes, pp. 179.)
We have the Good News and it is better than any “ninety-nine bottles of beer on the wall” in putting a smile on someone’s face. Yet, like the song, the gospel of Jesus Christ is an accessible commodity. It is there, waiting on the shelf for someone like you and I to take it, read it and then in a spirit of love and sharing, pass it around to others. And, what’s even better is this––there is an endless supply of this encouragement. It’s a song we never need to stop singing and one our Heavenly Father will never tire of hearing. Encourage someone today. Be the one to start the “passing around.”
For more from Chuck, visit http://www.insight.org
There’s an old Indian Fable I heard recently. A water bearer had two large water pots which he carried on either end of a pole slung across his shoulders. One of the pots had a crack in it, so every day as he carried water to his master’s house he arrived with one full pot and one only half full. This went on for two years. One pot was very proud of its accomplishments, while the imperfect pot was embarrassed at its failure. Its distress at being able only to accomplish half of what it had been made to do, resulted in its speaking one day to the water carrier.
"I am so ashamed," the pot said. "Why?" asked the carrier. "Because water leaks out all the way to your master’s house and because of my crack I’ve been only able to deliver half of the load." The water carrier looked kindly at the cracked pot and said, "As we return to my master’s house today, I want you to look at the beautiful flowers along the path."
The pot was a little cheered by the beauty he saw along the way. "Did you notice that the flowers were only on your side of the path?" the water ca...
Encouragement changes history. You may know the true story of Robert the Bruce King of Scotland. Bruce and the Spider(Scotland) HUNDREDS of years ago there was a king of Scotland and his name was Robert the Bruce. It was a good thing that he was both brave and wise, because the times in which he lived were wild and dangerous. The King of England was at war with him, and had led a great army into Scotland to drive him out of the land and to make Scotland a part of England. Battle after battle he had fought with England. Six times Robert the Bruce had led his brave little army against his foes. Six times his men had been beaten, until finally they were driven into flight. At last the army of Scotland was entirely scattered, and the king was forced to hide in the woods and in lonely places among the mountains. One rainy day, Robert the Bruce lay in a cave, listening to the rainfall outside the cave entrance. He was tired and felt sick at heart, ready to give up all hope. It seemed to him that there was no use for him to try to do anything more. As he lay thinking, he noticed a spider over his head, getting ready to weave her web. He watched her as she worked slowly and with great care. Six times she tried to throw her thread from one edge of the cave wall to another. Six times her thread fell short. "Poor thing" said Robert the Bruce. "You, too, know what it’s like to fail six times in a row." But the spider did not lose hope. With still more care, she made ready to try for a seventh time. Robert the Bruce almost forgot his own troubles as he watched, fascinated. She swung herself out upon the slender line. Would she fail again? No The thread was carried safely to the cave wall, and fastened there. "Yes" cried Bruce, "I, too, will try a seventh time" So he arose and called his men together. He told them of his plans, and sent them out with hopeful messages to cheer the discouraged people. Soon there was an army of brave men around him. A seventh battle was fought, and this time the King of England was forced to retreat back to his own country. It wasn’t long before England recognized Scotland as an independent country with Robert the Bruce as its rightful king. And to this very day, the victory and independence of Scotland is traced to a spider who kept trying again and again to spin her web in a cave and inspired the king of Scotland, Robert the Bruce. The Duke of Wellington, the British military leader who defeated Napoleon at Waterloo, was not an easy man to serve under. He was brilliant, demanding, and not one to shower his subordinates with compliments. Yet even Wellington realized that his methods left something to be desired. In his old age a young lady asked him what, if anything, he would do differently if he had his life to live over again. Wellington thought for a moment, then replied. "I’d give more praise," he said. Bits & Pieces, March 31, 1994, p. 24.
An elderly widow, restricted in her activities, was eager to serve Christ. After praying about this, she realized that she could bring blessing to others by playing the piano. The next day she placed this small ad in the Oakland Tribune: "Pianist will play hymns by phone daily for those who are sick and despondent--the service is free." The notice included the number to dial. When people called, she would ask, "What hymn would you like to hear?" Within a few months her playing had brought cheer to several hundred people. Many of them freely poured out their hearts to her, and she was able to help and encourage them.