Sermon Illustrations

“Even A Snake Has a Heart!”

1 John 1: 1-10 Key verse(s): 9

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

We recently endured the effects of a fairly major windstorm here at Beech Springs. It happened as we were out of town and upon returning we discovered literally hundreds of small branches and twigs scattered about the property and driveway. Since I don’t particularly like driving over them with either car or mower, after several days I felt that it would be a good thing to walk about the property and pick up as many of the sticks as possible. The driveway is pretty easy pickings but the lawn is a different matter. Twigs have the habit of burrowing into the grass, almost adhering to it. Picking up a stick can also get you an added bonus--a large tuft of grass as well. But picking I did. When I went for my walk in the morning, I’d pick up a handful here and there. Going up to get the mail was another such opportunity. Gradually over the course of the week I had rid the driveway and the yard of most of the larger limbs. Perhaps one last trip over the turf prior to the weekend and lawn cutting time would be all that would be needed.

Arms almost full I speculated that I could balance just one more branch atop my burgeoning pile of sticks, limbs, and twigs. There is was, just the right size. Bending downward, half-glancing at my tottering stack and peripherally eyeing the twig, I reached out to snatch my prize. The moment of contact, however, proved to be something far more interesting than the mere prospect of twig-snatching. My perfect twig had wrapped itself around my arm and was staring me blankly in the face. What should have been a Beech stick turned out to be a very surprised Garter Snake. Needless to say, my balancing act had gone for naught. The twigs lay all over the ground before me and the one thing I want to drop was not. The snake was cold having just recently come from its winter den somewhere down toward Your Creek. I guess that’s why it had lain so still even as I approached within inches of its grassy bed. Since it was apparent he wasn’t about to let loose of me I began to peel him away from my forearm. As I did I grasped the area just below the head, a spot where his vital organs are located. I was struck momentarily with the distinct feeling of a small pulsating heart. For the life of me I have picked up many a small snake over the years. But I have never really considered them more than a nuisance. Now, with the feel of that small heart beating between my fingertips, I was suddenly struck with the realization that even a snake has a heart!

When people are hurting it is always possible that somewhere, somehow sin has played a role in getting them there. Perhaps it was someone else’s sin. Perhaps it was there own. Where sin is involved, like that snake, we most often aren’t inclined to reach in and grab it by the tail.

Sinful people like you and I will often find themselves in a world of hurt simply because they said or did the wrong thing. Living with the consequences of sin can be very painful. Yet, like that snake or Bernie, as unattractive as we are, we still have a heart and often times it’s hurting. Remember, even a sinner needs words of comfort. We may make our beds in sin but no one has to sleep in them alone; not when there is a comforting Christian to share the hurt.

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