Sermon Illustrations

Not By Might! (10.08.05--Beginning Again!--2 Kings 5:12)

“That’s simple--too simple!” I thought. I had been looking for a simple solution to overcoming a seemingly complex problem for a long time now. How could I get better mileage and performance on an engine that was nearly 40 years old? I had been looking for a repair solution that was complicated, involving a possible valve job and other expensive repairs. I was convinced that this was the only way. Then, one evening, I heard a talk show on the radio centered on engine performance. The speaker talked about a simple engine additive, one that had been under my nose the entire time but I had never given it credence. This fixed my problem and all the while it had been staring me in the face.

Sometimes the best solutions to difficult problems are all too obvious for us to grasp. I’m reminded of a young couple who decided to start their own business. He was an engineer and she was an advertising copywriter. They decided to buy a small salmon cannery in Alaska. They soon discovered they had a problem. Customers opening a can of their salmon discovered that the fish was gray. Sales sagged. Investigation revealed that the problem was a result of the way they processed the fish. “This is a technical problem,” said the wife, “you’re an engineer. You have to find a way to fix this.”

A month later, the husband announced that they would have to replace some machinery and make other changes. It was going to take at least 10 months to do the job and it was going to cost a lot of money. “We have to do something sooner than that,” said the wife, “or we’re going to go under.” For the next two days she pondered the problem and came up with this solution: There was nothing wrong with the salmon--it tasted fine. The problem lay in its looks. So she changed the label on the can. In bold letters, right under the brand name, the labels thereafter announced, “The only salmon guaranteed not to turn pink in the can.” (Bits and Pieces, June, 1990, p. 9-10.)

Sometimes starting over when things have not gone right in our lives is simply a matter of looking around for the simple solutions God is often willing to give but we are so often negligent in seeing. Maybe it is a sin that you simply can’t seem to conquer? Perhaps you are looking to engineer a solution that is far too difficult and, frankly, not in God’s plan for you to do. Perhaps the solution is as simple as saying “no” to something that you have often said “yes” to in the past? Overcoming in this life can be difficult. Make no mistake about that. But, overcoming may sometimes be nothing more than obediently submitting to God’s will. The pathway of faith may sometimes be rocky, but God has given a road map that is plainly visible. Walk by faith, not by might.

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