Sermon Illustrations

Toilets and Stamps! (07.19.05--Pride--Nehemiah 3:5)

The goal was now in sight! What I had worked so hard for, was suddenly staring me in the face and it was so great to have achieved what I had worked so hard for. Potential realized, the prize won, perhaps now, I could let up a bit.

I had been trying for weeks to get a feature printed in a local newspaper; one that highlighted the work that I was doing with a local non-profit program. Having carefully written the story and making sure that the proper photos were provided for, the wait was on. Would the local newspaper print the story? Would they even print it with the photo?

When I opened the weekly paper the following Wednesday and found the story and the picture on page two, I was, needless to say, delighted. You might even say I felt a little puffed, as a feeling of self-satisfaction quickly coursed through me. The work had paid off. There was the story, every word I had written, and the picture looked great. I went to the office that day feeling pretty good about the whole thing. The hard work, the perseverance had paid off. My confidence had been stroked and it felt pretty good. Unlocking the office door and turning on the lights, I walked over to my little office and put the paper down on my desk right next to a sticky note that read, “Don’t forget! Pick up stamps today. Office toilet needs to be cleaned.” My soaring spirit landed with a thud.

Golf immortal Arnold Palmer recalls a lesson about over-confidence:

“It was the final hole of the 1961 Masters tournament, and I had a one-stroke lead and had just hit a very satisfying tee shot. I felt I was in pretty good shape. As I approached my ball, I saw an old friend standing at the edge of the gallery. He motioned me over, stuck out his hand and said, ‘Congratulations.’ I took his hand and shook it, but as soon as I did, I knew I had lost my focus. On my next two shots, I hit the ball into a sand trap, then put it over the edge of the green. I missed a putt and lost the Masters. You don’t forget a mistake like that; you just learn from it and become determined that you will never do that again. I haven’t in the 30 years since.” (Carol Mann, The 19th Hold, Longmeadow.)

No one is too good, talented or successful to deny that honest good work is what brings success; not what we’ve achieved but what we are doing at the moment makes all the difference. Humble task or not, it really doesn’t matter. The Bible tells us that no one is too good for hard work. When the God calls us to get our fingers dirty, there’s no time for resting on our laurels. Sometimes toilets and stamps are as important as nice pictures and stories in the paper.

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matt 6:34)

If you have a special prayer request, please send your request to “This Passing Day!”, . God bless you for Jesus sake.

This Passing Day!

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