Sermon Illustrations

One church where I served as pastor has a ping-pong table in the fellowship hall, and sometimes a younger member or two asked me to join them in a game. Now, I was old enough to be their grandfather but that doesn’t stop them from asking! I did appreciate the fact that these youngsters, aged around 8-11 or so, aren’t afraid to talk to their pastor.

Now, there was a young lady, who was probably in third grade at the time, who noticed a couple of boys playing some ping-pong with me and asked if she could play, “Sure!” we all replied. But we found out something unusual . . .

She didn’t know how to play the game!

She was honestly puzzled about how to hold the paddle and was baffled about some of the theory behind the game. I was in the middle of explaining a little about how to play when our music director called her name. She asked if “Terri” (not her real name)” was ready to sing. Yes, she and our music director sang a duet that Sunday morning, one of the most beautiful renditions of “Jesus Loves Me” I’ve ever heard.

“Terri’s” eyes grew large. She looked at the paddle, then at me, and said, “Hold that thought!”

Sometimes it’s a good idea to “hold (a) thought” when we read something from the Bible that speaks to us. This could be a realization of a sin that we’ve been committing, or an encouragement to live for the Lord better than we have been, or simply a call to get “back in the game”, so to speak.

Another way to “hold that thought” is to memorize a verse or passage that speaks to us. Many of us can quote Psalm 23 from memory. Sadly, many believers cannot. I knew, and heard, a man who quoted the 8th chapter of Romans from memory, and that is not an easy chapter to commit to memory. He definitely was able to hold that thought but better—he could share it with others as the Lord gave opportunity.

Still another way to “hold that thought” is to follow Paul’s command in Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things [Phil 4:8 NASB].” Keeping our mind filled with good things is a good antidote to the evil so common and so easily available these days.

What will you or I do the next time we need to “hold that thought”?

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.

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