Sermon Illustrations

“Curious About Trouble!” Exodus 14: 10-15 Key verse(s): 11 “As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the Lord. They said to Moses, ‘Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt?’”

A number of years ago I had the opportunity to work a summer job in a local nursery. The owner, a brusque but fair-minded gentleman named Al, had asked my brother and I to help him weed and water the plants in the several green houses that he owned. The work was fairly easy until one day, at the very end of our stint only days prior to returning to school, Al announced that he had a special job for us that day. He was expecting a flatbed in soon loaded with the hundreds of aluminum frames that would become the supporting structures for two new greenhouses he was planning to erect on the property. The day was hot and the sun beat down.

We followed the trucker as he slowly crept his rig across the roughly graded terrain behind the existing greenhouses. When he stopped, we grabbed, unloaded, and dropped the frames as directed by Al who kept the pace right beside us. As the morning wore on and the sun rode higher and higher into the sky, the aluminum frames began to heat up. Even with the gloves that we were wearing, it became more and more difficult to handle the hot metal. Finally, a piece of heated metal came in touch with my bare, sweaty arm and I pulled back in pain. The piece I was holding in my other end came with me. It had hooked itself around an entire stack of frames and within seconds the entire lot had plummeted to the ground. I looked up at Al expecting to hear his rebuke. Instead he motioned to the truck driver to stop. Never looking at either of us, he approached the neatly stacked pile of frames now resting squarely in front of us but no longer perched on the flatbed. Taking off his glove he grabbed the top frame. No reaction. Scratching his head I saw his frown gradually turn into a grin. The stack had fallen top side down into the dirt. The bottom frames on the truck bed were now on the top of the pile. Since they had been shielded from the sun they were cooler than the top frames which were now on the bottom of the pile. We were able to unstack the pile and by the time we got to those on the bottom they had cooled down considerably. I’ll never forget what Al uttered as we slowly unstacked the fallen load. “Sometimes trouble has two sides.” he grinned. “Problem is, most people aren’t curious enough to find the other one.”

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