Illustration results for Blind Man
A few years ago the Birmingham, Alabama, paper had a headline on the sports page: "The Most Exciting Moment Of My Life." It showed a picture of Jack Nicklaus writing out a $5,000 check for charity. As a matter of fact, it was second $5,000 check that day. It happened because of a game of golf he lost.
A man by the name of Charley Boswell lives in Birmingham, Alabama. In 1937, he was the captain of the Alabama football team that played in the 1938 Rose Bowl. In World War II he was a captain in the infantry. He stepped on a land mine and blew his eyes out. Charley Boswell is stone cold blind! But for nine holes of golf he can shoot par golf. He hits a ball he can’t even see. The caddy rattles the pin in the cup, and the noise tells him where to putt. How does he do that? He said, "Holding mental pictures."
Jack Nicklaus went to Birmingham to help raise money for a Boys’ Ranch and gave $5,000. They had a banquet to honor Nicklaus for helping the fund-raiser and for his $5,000 check. Halfway through the meal, Charley Boswell stood at a table in the back of the room. "Mr. Nicklaus, they tell me you play a little golf." There was silence. "Yes, I’ve been known to play a round or two." "So do I, and I think I can beat you! I’ll play you nine holes of golf. If you can beat me, I’ll give $5,000 to the Boys’ Club. And, if I beat you, you give another $5,000. And to make the contest fun, exciting, and fair, you choose the course where we play, and I’ll choose the time we play -- day or night."
Guess what time Charley chose? Night, of course. The Birmingham paper had a full length picture of Nicklaus writing out his second $5,000 check. The headline said "The Most Exciting Moment Of My Life." Someone asked him about that headline. Why had he made that statement? "You have won every trophy, award, honor, accolade. Why would this be so exciting?" Nicklaus replied "I met a person today who refuses to let fear control his life."
“Dr. Garl Restored My Sight!”
There was this soft-spoken man who was a commuter on the Long Island Railroad—on the five o’clock local. Every evening, after the train had left the subway, he would begin a journey through the car from front to back. At each seat he would stop and say, “Excuse me. But if any of your friends are blind, tell them to consult Dr. Garl. He restored my sight.”
Why don’t we have that same courage and conviction and boldness?
ILL. Listen to this true story. Rabbi Michael Weisser lived in Lincoln, Nebraska. And for more than 3 years, Larry Trapp, a self-proclaimed Nazi & Ku Klux Klansman, directed a torrent of hate-filled mailings & phone calls toward him.
Trapp promoted white supremacy, anti-Semitism, & other messages of prejudice, declaring his apartment the KKK state headquarters & himself the grand dragon. His whole purpose in life seemed to be to spew out hate-ridden racial slurs & obscene remarks against Weisser & all those like him.
At first, the Weissers were so afraid they locked their doors & worried themselves almost sick over the safety of their family. But one day Rabbi Weisser found out that Trapp was a 42-year-old clinically blind, double amputee. And he became convinced that Trapp’s own physical helplessness was a source of the bitterness he expressed.
So Rabbi Weisser decided to do the unexpected. He left a message on Trapp’s answering machine, telling him of another side of life…a life free of hatred & racism.
Rabbi Weisser said, "I probably called 10 times & left messages before he finally picked up the phone & asked me why I was harassing him. I said that I’d like to help him. I offered him a ride to the grocery store or to the mall."
Trapp was stunned. Disarmed by the kindness & courtesy, he started thinking. He later admitted, through tears, that he heard in the rabbi’s voice, "something I hadn’t experienced in years. It was love."
Slowly the bitter man began to soften. One night he called the Weissers & said he wanted out, but didn’t know how. They grabbed a bucket of fried chicken & took him dinner. Before long they made a trade: in return for their love he gave them his swastika rings, hate tracts, & Klan robes.
That same day Trapp gave up his Ku Klux Klan recruiting job & dumped the rest of his propaganda in the trash. "They showed me so much love that I couldn’t help but love them back," he finally confessed.
Folks, if that could happen in Lincoln, Nebraska, what could happen here in our community, in our neighborhoods, if we truly began to live lives that showed the love of Jesus to those around us?
JUST TO BE NOTICED
Every spring, hundreds of Hollywood “stars” gather for the Academy Awards. Very few “slip in the back door:” instead, they make an entrance. They walk down the long red carpet, smiling at the cameras and waving to the people in the stands (who, by the way, all had to apply and go through extensive background checks), showing off their clothing (and undoubtedly a bit more), chatting with the reporters. Some will go to great, great lengths just to be noticed.
Contrast that with Jesus: to the man healed of leprosy in Matt. 8, He said: “See that you don’t tell anyone.” To the two blind men He healed in Matt. 9, He, “warned them sternly, ‘See that no one knows about this.’” And in Mark 1, a demon possessed man in Capernaum yelled out “I know who you are – the Holy One of God!”, to which Jesus replied “Be quiet!”
Jesus often chose not to be in the limelight. In fact, most of Jesus ministry happened outside of the capital city of Jerusalem, away from the big pomp and ceremony of the Temple, in small towns and villages along the way.
Until today. Until the e...
I once heard about a man who worked with children who lived in sewers - somewhere in South America I think. He used to go into the sewers himself to try and help the children who were living there. Imagine you had been one of those children - virtually blind through living in the darkness underground. Filthy through living in the waste from thousands of homes. Maybe this man offers you a chance to leave. You jump at the opportunity, but has he leads you out, as your eyes become accustomed to the light at the end of the tunnel, you start to see the state that you are in. You start to see the excrement on your clothes and in your hair. And no matter how hard you try to brush it off, the stains will not go away. And of course, the nearer you get to the light coming in from the entrance of the tunnel, the dirtier you appear. Naturally you would shy away from ever coming out of the sewer until you’re fit to be presented to the outside world. The problem of course, is that you cannot be made clean until you come out of the filth of the sewer, and by coming out it’s inevitable that you will be made aware of your own filth.
If we are to see God’s holiness, it is certain that we will recoil at our own sinfulness.
Recently one of the testimonies at a Missions conference was so powerful it seemed to take the breath away from the people attending. It was the story of a blind woman by the name of Pani. She was listening to the Jesus film in her village as those with their sight were watching. Pani was greatly moved when, she heard on the film, Jesus restored the sight of the blind man. When Pani heard these words she cried out, “I want to receive my sight too.” At the conclusion of the film a miracle took place. Pani could see! Jesus restored her sight! As the mission conference attendees heard this wonderful story they began to show emotion for such a miracle. They were stopped of their emotional exuberance by the missionary as he gave them a reminder. The restoration of Pani’s sight was not the greatest miracle that evening.
A greater miracle took place than the restoration of her sight. Pani received forgiveness of her sins that night by trusting Jesus as her Savior! She heard Jesus speak the sweetest words of all, “Your sins are forgiven.”
Illus.: “When Blind Eyes Were Opened”
D.L. Moody, the famed evangelist, told this story at one of his meetings: One evening just before Christmas, a man was walking through the streets of an Eastern city. The store windows were all beautifully decorated, and he observed three little girls intensely interested in one of them. He discovered that the girl in the center was blind, and the others were trying to describe the beautiful things in the window. “Why,” they said, “can’t you see that Teddy bear and that doll? Just look at that pretty pink bow!”
But the poor little girl stood with a blank expression on her face and could not appreciate the beautiful things before her. “Now,” said Moody, “this is an illustration of the effort we Christians are making to arouse the unconverted to an interest and delight in spiritual things. The reason we can’t do so is because the sinner is spiritually blind.” Moody had scarcely concluded when a reporter was on the platform asking him where he had heard that story. “Oh,” said Moody, “I read it in one of those daily papers. I have forgotten which one.” Then the reporter said, “I’m the one who wrote the story because I was there and saw the whole thing. I see now that I’m just like that little girl, spiritually blind.” That man was converted then and there.
Illus.: “I Can’t Change Jesus”
Bill Irwin, a man who is blind, has a talking computer he uses to study the Bible. He’s had a few chuckles over some of the pronunciations. "For a long time," Bill says, "the computer pronounced Holy Bible as ’holly bibble’ until I figured out how to modify it." But there was one thing Bill couldn’t change. The computer uses the Spanish pronunciation for Jesus Christ--HEYsus Krist. "The programmer is Hispanic," Bill told me with a smile, "and he made sure that HEYsus Krist cannot be altered."
I like that. It reminds me that among the things in life that can be changed to suit my taste, one remains tamper-resistant--I can’t change Jesus.
When life is unsettled, I gain great comfort from the Bible’s affirmation that "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever" (Heb. 13:8). But the statement is also a stern rebuke to my tendency to try to modify t...
In my study for the Fishers of Men series I came across an essay written by A. J. McClane called, “The Song of the Angler.” In this essay he examines why fishermen fish.
1. People fish for each others company, for the fellowship. Able to share in a common activity. People fish for the friendships.
2. Psychologists tell us that one reason why we enjoy fishing is because it is an escape. McClane says that it is an escape to reality. The sense of freedom that we enjoy in the outdoors is, after all, a normal reaction to a more rational environment.
3. He gives all of these explanations but this is the one I want us to focus on. Fishers fish to enjoy the music and the songs. Not ones that they sing but the song that arises from nature. He illustrates this with the story of Lord Fraser. McClane says, “Lord Fraser of Lonsdale is a friend of mine. He is a skilled fly-fisherman, and when last we visited together, he caught a 35 pound salmon which was the biggest in the camp for many weeks. What’s more I have heard him spellbind a roomful of strangers with tales of his life in South Africa. What does this matter? Well, Lord Fraser is totally blind. Both of his eyes were shot out in WW1. A profoundly intellectual man, Fraser has developed his others senses to a point that most of the people who sat with him that night had no idea that he was unable to see them. I don’t know if you have every tried wading (unaided) and fly-fishing a stream while blindfolded. I cannot do it, and I would probably lack the guts if I had to do it. Lord Fraser is the chairman of the board of a powerful retail business in England. His work is demanding and he enjoys going fishing to catch fish yes, but also to enjoy the song of the angler. He enjoys hearing all of the things around him: the changing tempos of deep and shallow water, the curling smack of a rapid against a bolder, even the roll or rise of a fish. His ear for the music of angling is incredibly keen.
As I was growing up with a younger brother and sister, one of our favorite games to play was baseball. We had a plastic bat and ball, and we would team up with some of the neighborhood kids and play ball in the back yard.
On one particular occasion my mom took our bat away from us because we were arguing, like all brothers and sisters tend to do. But this did not deter us from playing our favorite game. Mom took the bat, but not the ball. So we took the metal brace from the swing set (the metal bar that is used to brace two legs together on each end) and started using it as a bat.
I was at bat when I swung at a pitch and felt two distinct points of contact; one was with the ball, and the second was with my sister’s head. I didn’t realize that she had walked up behind me, and on my follow through I clobbered her on the forehead with the end of the brace.
I turned around only to discover that my sister was screaming and bleeding profusely. In fact, not much of her face was really visible because she was covered in blood. I knew I was in trouble, so while my sister bled and cried, I pleaded with her not to tell momma. I figured that washing her down with the water hose to get rid of the blood would be enough to take care of the situation. Once the bleeding stopped, I would be in the clear. But in my panic to discover a way to keep from getting a good whipping, I couldn’t see that the greater need was for my sister to receive medical attention. She had to be taken to the emergency room where she received several stitches to bind up her wound.
The point of this story is this. When my mom came out to find out what was going on, she didn’t stop to dwell on how guilty I was for disobeying her, or to find out every detail about what had happened. As soon as she saw the blood, she swept my sister up in her arms, carried her into the house to put a bandage on her head, and drove her to the hospital so that she could get the medical attention she desperately needed. As a matter of fact, the whipping I deserved never came. My mom’s actions showed that her concern for my sister’s health and well-being was more important than trying to blame somebody for the accident that had caused her injuries, or for punishing the one who was responsible.
Pastors need to learn that lesson.
So many times we have been guilty of preaching on sin just so we can point a finger of blame at someone who has stumbled under the load of temptation that Satan brings to bear upon us. God forgive us for our arrogance and our shortsightedness. Forgive us for falling short of our God-given responsibility to preach the gospel to the poor, to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised (Luke 4:18). Our obligation as pastors is not only to warn people of sin and the consequences it brings, but also to bind the wounds of our brothers and sisters in Christ who have been victimized by the enemy, and to tell those who have never known the washing of regeneration that Jesus Christ died on the cross to pay their sin debt, that His blood can wash away all of your sins, and that He rose from the dead to prove that He has power over death, hell and the grave.
Christians need to learn that lesson.
How many of us have been guilty of shooting our wounded? How many have kicked a brother or sister when they were down, rather than bearing their burden, and helping to restore them back into the sweetness of full fellowship with our Lord? We ought to be ashamed, for the Church is to be our refuge, our safe haven, and our place of restoration. But all too often it becomes a place of torment and ridicule because of those who have forgotten to “consider themselves, lest they also be tempted.”
Some of you this morning have been through the ringer in your battle with sin this week. You’re battered and bloodied from the near lethal blows that Satan has inflicted upon you, and you desperately need medical attention, the kind of medical attention that only Jesus Christ can give. So I stand before you today, not with a pointed finger, but with outstretched hands, pleading with you to come this morning and be washed in the pure refreshing waters of God’s abundant grace and mercy. You need to be washed, to clean your feet. You’ve already been bathed in His loving grace and mercy. But you need to come to Jesus, confessing your sins and you will experience complete and total forgiveness and cleansing. Your fellowship will be restored, and your hope will be renewed. You’ve struggled with sin long enough. Now is the time to come back into the grace and mercy of the Lord.
Others of you may just simply be lost. You’ve washed your feet many times. You’ve turned over a new leaf only to find the same old dirty sin on the other side. You’ve attended church, and maybe even been baptized and joined the church. But you’ve never trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ to save you from your sins. Friend, let me tell you, because I love you, that if you don’t come to know Jesus Christ in the full pardon of sin, your eternal destination is hell. But if you come, you must come trusting in nothing but the shed blood of Jesus Christ to cleanse you all of your sins. You can’t do anything to earn His favor, and you can’t bring anything with you but a broken heart and a contrite spirit. You can’t get better to come to Him. You can only plead with Him to forgive you as you are, a worthless sinner begging for mercy and pardon. You can only come to Jesus Christ in absolute unworthiness to ask Him for His free gift of salvation.