Sermon Illustrations

My wife and her parents used a certain brand of ketchup for many things over a long period of time. They hadn’t had any of it, though, in maybe 30 years or so. They believed this brand wasn’t available, locally, so they never got around to finding any more of it. Now, I grew up in a different part of the country and frankly had never heard of that particular brand. Mom and Dad’s favorite brand of ketchup was whatever was on sale that week!

Well, we did some Internet searches for that long-lost brand of ketchup. Yes, it’s still being made; and yes, there are some stores that carry it; and yes, the price is quite reasonable. Except for one thing, that is: we didn’t see any stores in a reasonable distance that carried this favorite brand. Would you drive 300 miles or more for a few bottles of ketchup?

We pondered this for a while, just wondering if we should order some on line or not, the end result being that none of us bought anything. Come to find out, there is a chain of stores not that far from where I grew up that carried “Brand A” ketchup! And not too far from the Interstate highway, with easy access to the store! So I made a mental note to be sure and get a few bottles next time I went back home.

Heading back after a great mini-vacation, I made sure to stop at the store and find the bottles of “Brand A” ketchup. The store itself was huge (!) but—I found it! And there were plenty of bottles to choose from, too. I snapped a photo on my cell phone, sent it to my wife, and after her approval, grabbed four bottles to take on the journey. I hoped she would be happy.

I think she was stunned when I put one of the bottles in her hand! Not long after that, she made some fried chicken and used “Brand A” as a sauce of some kind. The memories came back, and I honestly thought there were tears in her eyes, as the food was so delicious. The only catch: the stuff was almost a day’s drive away. Maybe I should have purchased more!

Then a few weeks later, I walk by an aisle looking for some soup and quite by accident, found myself by the ketchup display. Would you believe, the same ketchup that I believed was a day’s drive away was only a 5-minute drive at our local grocery store? The cashier was kind of nonplussed and told me she honestly didn’t know how long the store had carried “Brand A”, but was sure it had been there for a while (her words).

It was a lot closer than I thought it was!

Sometimes we Christians get so busy trying to run here and there, thinking success is found in the next city or state, or some new church, when perhaps if we just lift our eyes and—even better—simply ask for the Lord’s guidance, we could find His will, and a lot closer than we thought it might be. Several times in the New Testament, we’re given examples of His Will for us (1 Thess. 4:3 and 5:18, e.g.)

To repeat, His will might be closer than we thought it was. Have you and I found His will for our lives?

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.

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