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An elementary school teacher was lecturing to her class on the dangers of not bundling up properly to face the winter cold. She told them a dramatic story about a naughty little boy who disobeyed his mother and went sledding one afternoon without his mittens, cap, and snow suit. Because of it, he caught pneumonia and died. When she finished her story, one boy raised his hand. "Mrs. Johnson, may I ask two questions?"
"Go ahead, Tommy," the teacher replied.
"Who has his sled now and could I have it?"
(From Stories for Preachers)
THE JEWELED LADY OF POMPEII
Of the 20,000 inhabitants of Pompeii, some 2,000 lost their lives, among them a woman who loved finery above all else. As the deadly rain of fire came down, she decided to run to the harbor and escape by ship. That was wise, but this rich and beautiful woman stayed behind just long enough to collect as much jewelry as she could carry. Snatching up her rings, she hastily thrust them on her fingers. There was no time to hunt for a box or a bag in which to cram her ornaments, so she picked up as many as she could hold, and rushed into the street, clutching her pearls and diamonds, her rubies and sapphires, her gold brooches and her earrings--a wealth of finery that would be placed at thousands of dollars today.
But she delayed too long. The poisonous fumes overcame her as she ran; and with all her trinkets she stumbled, fell, and died, clutching the things she prized so much.
There, under the ashes of Pompeii she lay; and when the excavators found her, she was still lovely, and her hands were still laden with jewels.
— Prairie Overcomer, Encyclopedia of 15,000 Illustrations
THE BURNING OF THE BRANDS
British style writer Neil Boorman has decided to burn every branded thing in his possession. "I am addicted to brands," he confessed in a magazine article: "From an early age, I have been taught that to be accepted, to be lovable, to be cool, one must have the right stuff. At junior school, I tried to make friends with the popular kids, only to be ridiculed for the lack of stripes on my trainers. Once I had nagged my parents to the point of buying me the shoes, I was duly accepted at school, and I became much happier as a result. As long as my parents continued to buy me the brands, life was more fun. Now, at the age of 31, I still behave according to playground law."
Boorman finally realized that the happiness found in his possessions is hollow and short-lived, leaving him with a "continual, dull ache." So he's taking drastic action and turning to a life of simplicity. He summarizes: "The manner in which we spend our money defines who we are. ...In this secular society of ours, where family and church once gave us a sense of belonging, identity, and meaning, there is now Apple, Mercedes, and Coke. ...So, this is why I am burning all my stuff. To find real happiness, to find the real me.
Video: Brand Burning. Lori Quicke, Wheaton, Illinois; source: Neil Boorman, "Bonfire of the Brands," BBC Magazine (8-29-06).
The story is told of a prosperous, young investment banker who was driving a new BMW sedan on a mountain road during a snowstorm. As he veered around one sharp turn, he lost control and began sliding off the road toward a deep precipice. At the last moment he unbuckled his seat belt, flung open his door, and leaped from the car, which then tumbled down the ravine and burst into a ball of flames.
Though he had escaped with his life, the man suffered a ghastly injury. Somehow his arm had been caught near the hinge of the door as he jumped and had been torn off at the shoulder.
A trucker saw the accident in his rearview mirror. He pulled his rig to a halt and ran to see if he could help. He found the banker standing at the roadside, looking down at the BMW burning in the ravine below.
"My BMW! My new BMW!!" the banker moaned, oblivious to his injury.
The trucker pointed at the banker’s shoulder and said, "You’ve got bigger prob...
Sermon Central Staff
THE DESTINY OF MATERIALISM
The lure of wealth, or what we might call the magnetism of materialism.
“Finns [people from Finland] who can’t get enough of winter swarmed to the northern town of Kemi for the opening of a sprawling ice castle that features a theatre, a playground, an art gallery, and a chapel.
“Thirty workers took three months to build a castle with 13-foot walls stretching for 1650 feet.
“An Orthodox Church chapel, hewn from ice, has been booked for weddings and christenings. The theater has a capacity of 3000 and features rock and pop concerts, musicals, modern dance, opera recitals, and popular operas.
[Here’s the kicker.]
“Construction and upkeep costs are estimated to be $1.1 million, yet the castle always melts sometime in mid-April.
“The melting ice serves as a reminder that all the material things in this world will one day pass away.”
(1001 Quotes, Illustrations & Humorous Stories for Preachers, Teachers & Writers, 329). From a sermon by Eric Lenhart, Seeds Among Thorns, 8/13/2010
Sermon Central Staff
HOW MUCH DO YOU NEED?
According to the Barna Research Group, the average American adult believes he needs an additional $8,000–$11,000 per year to live comfortably. Tracking studies show, however, that even when adults reach or exceed the income levels to which they aspired, they still claim they need another $8,000–$11,000 to live comfortably.
(From a sermon by Jeremy Poling, Trivial Pursuit, 4/4/2011)
THE SAD STORY OF FRANK SINATRA
FRANK SINATRA: Excerpt from a memoir by Tina Sinatra, Frank Sinatra’s daughter
His health was in tatters and his life mired in financial wrangles, but my father refused to stop giving concerts, "I’ve just got to earn more money," he said. His performances, sad to say, were becoming more and more uneven. Uncertain of his memory, he became dependent on tele-prompters. When I saw him at Desert Inn in Las Vegas, he struggled through the show and felt so sick at the end that he needed oxygen from a tank that he kept on hand. At another show he forgot the lyrics to "Second Time Around," a ballad he had sung a thousand times. His adoring audience finished it for him.
I couldn’t bear to see Dad struggle. I remembered all the times he repeated the old boxing maxim "You gotta get out before you hit the mat." He wanted to retire at the top of his game, and I always thought he would know when his time came, but pushing 80 he lost track of when to quit. After seeing one too many of these fiascos, I told him, "Pop, you can stop now; you don’t have to stay on the road." With a stricken expression he said, "No, I’ve got to earn more money. I have to make sure everyone is taken care of."
Since his death there have been constant family wrangles over his fortune.
A man once came to Peter Marshall, former chaplain of the Unites States Senate, with a concern about tithing. “I have a problem,” he said. “I have been tithing for some time. It wasn’t too bad when I was making $20,000 a year; I could afford to give up $2,000. But now that I am making $500,000, there is no way I can afford to give away $50,000 a year.”
Peter Marshall reflected on this wealthy man’s dilemma but gave no advice. He simply said, “Yes, sir. I see that you have a problem. I think we ought to pray about it. Is that all right?”
The man agreed, so Dr. Marshall bowed his head and prayed, “Dear Lord, this man has a problem, and I pray that you will help him. Please reduce his salary back ...
CITY OF POMPEII
Clovis Chappell told the story of the evacuation of the city of Pompeii which was destroyed in AD 79 by an eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. During the excavation of the city, there was found a body embalmed by the ashes of the volcano. It was that of a woman. Her feet were turned toward the city gate, but her face was turned backward toward something that lay just beyond her outstretched hands. The prize for which those frozen fingers were reaching was a bag of pearls.
Chappell says, though death was hard at her heels, and life was beckoning to her beyond the city gates, she could not shake off their spell. She had turned to pick them up with death as her reward.
Five-year-old Suri Cruise, the daughter movie stars Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise, was seen last week throwing a temper tantrum in toy store. This is a five-year-old girl with a $130,000 Christmas wish list including a $100,000 pony! (Originally Published: Friday, December 23 2011)
It’s hard to believe that she would want anything more, but that’s the way we are wired. When we seek the things of the earth, we are NEVER SATISFIED.