Sermon Illustrations

“A Boulder With Your Name On It!” Numbers 13:25-29 Key verse(s) 27:“They gave Moses this account: ‘We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit. But . . .”

Sometimes the things that we are able to do surprise even ourselves. Have you ever had the experience of accomplishing something that you thought you would have a very difficult if not impossible time doing and then, do it? The feeling is utter exhilaration. The first thing that you want to do is to look around to see if anyone saw you do it. “Did you see that? Did you see what I did? I just can’t believe that I could do that. I’ve been trying to do that for years and now, well, I’ve done it!”

A number of years ago I was putting in wash posts for my wife. We had just moved into Beech Springs and this was one of the duties right at the top of my list. “Need wash posts!” My father-in-law had been kind enough to make a set of welded steel posts that we had used for a number of years at our previous home. They traveled with me to our new house because no one makes things like my father-in-law. They would stand the test of time and, when the Lord comes to call us home, they might be one of the last elements to concede destruction under the fires of heaven. As I was scouting the side yard for a likely place into which the posts could be restored, I discovered to my dismay that there was but one place that would get enough sunlight and was open to the breeze; and that site had a huge boulder smack dab in the middle of it. Having the aid of both pry bar and a medium size diesel tractor with a front-end loader, I figured that, although it would take some time and sweat, eventually I would be able to budge the rock and move it elsewhere with the bucket of the loader. Unfortunately, the more I dug around it, the more of it I revealed. Like a giant iceberg, the bulk of it lay below the ground, concealed and stubbornly refusing to budge. My first thought was that although the site was perfect for my wife’s wash posts, there just had to be another one somewhere that was better. I really didn’t think that I would be able to move that boulder. But, as I soon discovered, God had put it there several thousand years ago with my name on it and, since there is no use trying to circumvent Him, I went back to work.

Several hours later, sweaty and tired, I had uncovered a very large erratic boulder. I am not sure what it weighed but suffice to say it would not relent to the pry bar. Eventually, after several more hours of digging, I was able to cut a channel below the rock through which I was able to slip a very sturdy chain. Connected to the bucket of the diesel loader, I hoped that in the very least I would be able to turn it enough so that I might be able to get the lip of the bucket under it and pry it out of the hole. I started the tractor and gently hit the hydraulics that controlled the bucket. It strained and groaned as the steel arms and bucket strained under the sheer weight of the rock. Finally the rock turned in the hole and I had my chance. Detaching the chain I positioned the bucket in the hole, crossed my fingers and pushed on the hydraulics. The rock moved and then it moved again. Finally, after about a half hour’s coaxing, it rolled out of the hole. Now all I had to do was get the bucket under it, lift it a few inches above the turf and move it out into the woods. Again, creaking and groaning all the way, rear tires sometimes leaving the ground due to all the up-front weight, the boulder with my name on it found a new home about a hundred feet away. When it dropped from the bucket there was both a sense of relief and unbelief. The rock that couldn’t be moved, had been moved.

That rock moved not merely because of the pry bar and the diesel (although it wouldn’t have moved without them). It moved because of the hands on the hydraulics and a heart that envisioned it moved and deposited somewhere else. I found that when I focused on what I wanted to see, the rock nestled a hundred feet away and an empty hole before me, the will and the ability to move it were granted me. We find what we are looking for when we embrace an attitude that what we are looking for is actually there. Steve Goodier writes: “Both the hummingbird and the vulture fly over our nation’s deserts. All vultures see is rotting meat, because that is what they look for. They thrive on that diet. But hummingbirds ignore the smelly flesh of dead animals. Instead, they look for the colorful blossoms of desert plants. The vultures live on what was. They live on the past. They fill themselves with what is dead and gone. But hummingbirds live on what is. They seek new life. They fill themselves with freshness and life. Each bird finds what it is looking for. We all do. (Steve Goodier, Quote Magazine, in Reader’s Digest, May, 1990.)

We find what we are looking for in this life when we fix our eyes on the goal and not the work it takes to get there. If we envision failure, we will. If we envision pain, we will find it. When the goal is “milk and honey,” even if there is a boulder with our name on it, we ought never to be deterred.

Related Sermon Illustrations

Related Sermons