Sermon Illustrations

Game’s Only Half Over! (10.04.05--Beginning Again!--2 Samuel 12:20-24)

Is there anyone who hasn’t felt the sting of regret and discovered just how bitter it is to live with the thought that if only we hadn’t done this or said that we’d be a whole lot happier at the moment? Beginning again is one “power” I wish that I had above all things in this life. I guess it is because I do a lot of things that I regret doing. Unfortunately, the doing and the regret are connected over time, with doing on one far end and regret on the other. If only we could link these two things more closely; if only each of us had the power to start over when the end did not suit our intentions.

On New Year’s Day, 1929, Georgia Tech played the University of California in the Rose Bowl. In that game a man named Roy Riegels recovered a fumble for California. Somehow, he became confused and started running 65 yards in the wrong direction. That strange play came in the first half, and everyone who was watching the game was asking the same question: “What will Coach Nibbs Price do with Roy Riegels in the second half?”

At half time Coach Price looked at the team and said simply, “Men the same team that played the first half will start the second.” The players got up and started out, all but Riegels. The coach looked back and called to him; still he didn’t move. Coach Price went over to where Riegels sat and said, “Roy, didn’t you hear me? Then Roy Riegels looked up, his cheeks wet with a strong man’s tears, and said. “Coach, I couldn’t face that crowd in the stadium to save my life.” Then Coach Price reached out and put his hand on Riegel’s shoulder and said to him: “Roy, get up and go on back; the game is only half over.” And Roy Riegels went back, and those Tech men will tell you that they have never seen a man play football as Roy Riegels played in that second half. (Haddon W. Robinson, Christian Medical Society Journal.)

The Bible teaches us that what is done is done. There is no use in going back and reliving it or redoing it. God has one direction in life for us and that is forward, not backward. When King David sinned and displeased the Lord, God punished him for that sin and he grieved over it. Then, recognizing that the grief would not undo what he had undone, David put away his grief and “got back in the...

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