Illustration results for luke 16
There was a certain old recluse who lived deep in the mountains of Colorado. When he died, distant relatives came from the city to collect his valuables. Upon arriving, all they saw was an old shack with an outhouse beside it. Inside the shack, next to the rock fireplace, was an old cooking pot and his mining equipment. A cracked table with a three-legged chair stood guard by a tiny window, and a kerosene lamp served as the centerpiece for the table. In a dark corner of the little room was a dilapidated cot with a threadbare bedroll on it.
They picked up some of the old relics and started to leave. As they were driving away, an old friend of the recluse, on his mule, flagged them down. “Do you mind if I help myself to what’s left in my friend’s cabin?” he asked. “Go right ahead,” they replied. After all, they thought, what inside that shack could be worth anything?
The old friend entered the shack and walked directly over the table. He reached under it and lifted one of the floor boards. He then proceeded to take out all the gold his friend had discovered over the past 53 years – enough to have built a palace. The recluse died with only his friend knowing his true worth. As the friend looked out of the little window and watched the cloud of dust behind the relative’s car disappear, he said, “They should have got to know him better.
I wonder, as we reflect on this Good Friday, as we watch the Lamb, Jesus Christ, who suffered and died a criminal’s death 2000 years ago that we too have missed out on the gold. Do we know our Friend’s (Jesus) true worth? Do we treat Him as if he’s some old relic of history that lived somewhere in strife-torn Middle East long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far way? What’s that gotta do with me? Yeah, sure He died, and maybe he’s some tragic hero and we drive away, walk away empty from this assembly this day or do we wanna walk out here with the gold? Have we missed the gold? Will someone one day say of us that we should have got to know Jesus better?
I read a recent magazine article about a pastor and his encounter with some unbelievers while having breakfast. Here is how he tells the story: “My wife and I were vacationing in Estes Park, Colorado, and had breakfast in a coffee shop. It was empty except for four men at another table. One was mocking Christianity; in particular, the resurrection of Christ. He went on and on about what a stupid teaching that was. I could feel the Lord asking me: ‘Are you going to let this go unchallenged?’ However I was thinking, But I don’t even know these guys. He’s bigger than me. He’s got cowboy boots on and looks tough. I was agitated and frightened about doing anything. But I knew I had to stand for Jesus. Finally, I told Susan to pray. I took my last drink of water and went over and challenged him. With probably a squeaky voice, I said, ‘I’ve been listening to you, and you don’t know what you’re talking about ’ I did my best to give him a flying rundown of the proofs for the resurrection. He was speechless, and I was half dead. I must have shaken for an hour after that. But I had to take a stand. We cannot remain anonymous in our faith forever. God has a way of flushing us out of our quiet little places, and when he does we must be ready to speak for him.”
Now I admire this pastor’s courage and his determination to be a witness, regardless of how difficult it was. A lot of Christians would have just sat there in fear or fumed, thinking about how terrible the things were that these men were saying. I realize that I have the opportunity of looking back with hindsight on the situation, but I wonder if there wasn’t another possible approach that may have been more positive, and perhaps had more impact, than rattling off a list of rational arguments for the resurrection. It seems to me that he missed the most important and impressive proof of the resurrection — his own life. I wonder if it would not have been more effective to walk over to the men at the table and say something like this: “You know, I couldn’t help but overhear your conversation, and found it very interesting. If you don’t mind, I would like to pay for all of your breakfasts. The reason I want to do this is that, because of the resurrection, Jesus Christ has changed my life and lives in me, and wants to communicate his tremendous love for you.”
Rational arguments do not change people, changed lives do. Changed lives change the lives of others, and thereby change the world. It is how we challenge the unbelief of a skeptical world. But not only would it possibly have been a stronger witness, it would have been an excellent use of money to buy their breakfasts. I think the point in what Jesus was saying in our Scripture reading this morning was that people are always the priority. Helping people, whether physically or spiritually, is to be given priority over serving ourselves — especially when it comes to money. But money is usually our last holdout in our walk with God. It is what we surrender last. As you grow in the Christian life you realize that it is not your money anyway. Everything you own already belongs to God. It is a gift, a loan from him.
Charlene Cothran is the publisher of Venus Magazine, which is a periodical for lesbians of African descent. She recently announced on the magazine’s web site that she has become a Christian and has rejected the lesbian lifestyle she had been living. Cothran said that as a magazine publisher she has had the opportunity to address thousands of people publicly, influencing homosexuals to come out of the closet. Now, she says, she must come out of the closet again. She said, “The spirit of God spoke directly into my soul and said you will choose this day who you will serve and if you make the wrong choice, I will allow you to drift so far away from me that you will never hear my voice again. I gave God my heart and soul in the parking lot of the mall, right there in my car. A river of tears flowed as Jesus washed me and forgave me and redeemed me for His work.” Cothran will continue her work in the homosexual community, but she has changed her mission. She said, “I intend be just as ‘out’ about my transformation as I was about my lesbian life. I have given every gift I have back to God, including VENUS Magazine. The target audience will remain the same but the mission has been renewed. Our new mission is to encourage, educate and assist those in the [homosexual] life who want change but can’t find a way out.”
In the eleventh century, King Henry III of Bavaria grew tired of court life and the pressures of being a monarch. He made application to Prior Richard at a local monastery, asking to be accepted as a contemplative and spend the rest of his life in the monastery.
“Your Majesty,” said Prior Richard, “do you understand that the pledge here is one of obedience? That will be hard because you have been a king.”
“I understand,” said Henry. “The rest of my life I will be obedient to you, as Christ leads you.”
“Then I will tell you what to do,” said Prior Richard. “Go back to your throne and serve faithfully in the place where God has put you.”
When King Henry died, a statement was written: “The King learned to rule by being obedient.”
When we tire of our roles and responsibilities, i...
THE FATHER’S REACTION TO THE PRODIGAL SON AND HIS ELDER SON MIRRORS THE ANSWER ABRAHAM LINCOLN GAVE TO A QUESTION HE WAS ASKED ABOUT HOW HE WOULD TREAT THE ALL THE CONFEDERATE SOLDIERS ONCE THE CIVIL WAR WAS OVER.
EXPECTING VENGEANCE AND EVEN THOUGHTS OF EXECUTION BECAUSE OF TREASON, LINCOLN SURPRISED ALL OF THEM BY SAYING, "I WILL TREAT THEM AS IF THEY HAD NEVER BEEN AWAY."
D. On March 13, 1998 from Associated Press- Milton Garland is 102 years old. He is America’s oldest known worker. He’s worked for the same Pennsylvania engineering firm since 1920. He thinks life and work are just about the same thing. "I don’t think age has anything to do with your desire to work," he told the National Press Club. "I love the work I am doing," he said, leaning forward in his vested, dark pinstripe suit. "My advice is to go into something and stay with it until you like it. You can’t like it until you obtain expertise in that work. And once you are an expert, it’s a pleasure. And once you like what you do, you don’t like to quit doing it," Garland said. Garland, who now works about 20 hours a week, is an expert in what he does. He holds 40 patents, mostly involving innovations in refrigeration technology. He helped perfect the production of synthetic rubber during WW2. Where would he be if he retired 37 years ago, at age 65? "I’d be in my grave," Garland declares. At 102, Garland was chosen to be the symbol for the Green Thumb organization, which champions older workers. At a news conference, Garland had no problem fielding questions. Does he have a special diet? "I eat anything but sauerkraut," Garland replied. He was asked for advice on living a long life but did not provide it, saying that living a productive life is more important and implying that one might lead to the other. Garland has worked for the company for 78 years. His current duties: Coordinating international patents and giving training classes. There was another class coming up first thing Friday morning.
Someone has said that when we work, we work, but when we pray, God works.
--Bill Hybels. Too Busy Not to Pray (p. 18). Kindle Edition.
BUT, I WAS PLAYING CARDS
During the Revolutionary War, a loyalist spy appeared at the headquarters of Hessian commander Colonel Johann Rall, carrying an urgent message. General George Washington and his Continental army had secretly crossed the Delaware River that morning and were advancing on Trenton, New Jersey where the Hessians were encamped. The spy was denied an audience with the commander and instead wrote his message on a piece of paper. A porter took the note to the Hessian colonel, but because Rall was involved in a poker game he stuffed the unread note into his pocket. When the guards at the Hessian camp began firing their muskets in a futile attempt to stop Washington’s army, Rall was still playing cards. Without time to organize, the Hessi...
A CHRISTMAS LETTER TO GOD
A small boy was writing a letter to God about the Christmas presents he wanted. "I've been good for six months now," he wrote. After a moment's reflection, he crossed out "six months" and wrote "three." After a pause he changed that to "two weeks." There was another pause and another erasure.
Finally, the boy got up from the table and went over to the little nativity scene that had the figures of Mary and Joseph. He picked up the figure of Mary and went back to his writing and started again: "Dear God, if ever you want to see your mother again ..."
[Stephen Arterburn and Bill Farrel, The One Year Book of Devotions for Men on the Go (Tyndale House, 2004). From Larson, C. B., & Ten Elshof, P. (2008). 1001 illustrations that connect (382). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.]
“The Turkish landowner… is vividly remembered as corrupt, ruthless, and indifferent to any suffering he or his steward might cause his renters. [But] this scene is quite different from the one in the parable. At the very beginning, someone cares enough about the welfare of the master to report the actions of the dishonest steward. The master is clearly a part of the community. The wealthy, distant, foreign, ruthless landowner is unknown in this parable.” (Ken Bailey)