Sermon Illustrations

I cannot express how ecstatic I was when someone gave me a coupon for a free donut. Normally, I am not overly excited about “free.”

All I had to do was fill out a little survey online and they would send me a code that would guarantee me a free donut. In my “daily diary diet,” I have a whole section devoted to the subject that when a forbidden food is free it cancels out all calories.

When I first told the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage, she looked at me rather strangely and said, “Who said that?”

I know we are both getting old but we are not that old!

I got close to her, waved my hand so she could see me and said, “It’s me. I just said it. Can you hear me now?”

“That is not funny. You know exactly what I meant.”

My grin drained from my face and I said to her, “Well, I said it.”

“Did,” she said inquisitively, “anybody ever say that before you said it?”

My wife has many talents, skills and gifts. It would be difficult for me to say which is her best gift but at the moment, her greatest skill is backing me into a corner. And in a corner, I was thus backed.

I then had to explain to her, in detail, how this was an observation I worked through with much research. This is an original with me and I am quite proud to be the author.

All she said was, “Huh, that is exactly what I thought.”

I will go to my grave believing when a donut is free it means it is free of calories. Call it what you will but free by any other name is still free in my personal dictionary.

Getting back to my free donut. I was anxious to get to the donut shop, cash in the coupon and enjoy a donut. I do not know when the best time to eat a donut is, so I just started at my convenience.

I got at the donut shop and walked in and the smell was overpowering. Nothing like the smell of donuts baking in the oven with a hint of coffee brewing in the background. I just stood there for a few seconds absorbing the luxury of this marvelous atmosphere. It is not often I can enjoy such luxuries, especially if my wife knows where I am.

When I became adjusted to the ambiance, I walked up to the counter and presented my coupon for a free donut. It was at that moment I saw them.

I know I am not the most observant person at the circus. Many things get by me without noticing them. Sometimes I am just in deep thought and not aware of my surroundings. I can relate to Walter Mitty in many ways.

There they were, freshly baked Apple Fritters. I was stunned. It just never crossed my mind that a donut shop would have this kind of delicious tidbit. But there they were. Freshly baked and staring at me with alluring eyes of desire.

I do not know how much better a day can get than this. When I got up this morning, I did not realize this would be a wonderful day. There they were staring at me and I stared back and immediately there was a connection.

Standing in line I could hardly wait for my turn to order. I presented my coupon for a free donut and the young woman behind the counter said, “Which donut can I get for you, sir?”

I savored the moment, licked my drying lips and said, “I’ll have an Apple Fritter.” With that said, I sighed a deep sigh of true contentment.

“I’m sorry, sir,” the young woman said.

“There is no need to be sorry, young lady,” I said as cheerfully as I possibly could.

“No, sir, I’m sorry but an Apple Fritter is not a donut.”

I can take a joke as well as anybody else. In fact, I have put forth my share of jokes. However, an Apple Fritter is no joking matter.

“Excuse me,” I said almost breathlessly.

“An Apple Fritter is not a donut, so what donut would you like me to get for you?”

The thought began unfolding in my mind at this point that she was not joking. She sincerely believed an Apple Fritter was not a donut. I know an Apple Fritter is among the Cadillac of donuts but in my mind, it is still a donut.

I did not have much opportunity to set this young woman straight with one of the great fundamentals of life. I had to take one of her “free” donuts along with my coffee, go to a corner and think about these things. What good is “free” if it is not really what you want?

Sometimes people use the word “free” as a device to get you to a place where they can sell you something else.

The Bible is the only place I will accept a “free” offer. One particular verse sets this forth quite nicely. “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32 KJV).

This is often used out of context. The truth that makes us free indeed is none other than the truth about Jesus Christ. He is the only One capable of delivering something absolutely free.

Rev. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship, PO Box 831313, Ocala, FL 34483. He lives with his wife, Martha, in Silver Springs Shores. Call him at 1-866-552-2543 or e-mail His web site is

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