Sermon Illustrations

In Mike’s book he tells the story of Carl.

It was little league and Carl was at bat. It was the last inning, two outs the bases were loaded, and depending on how Carl did, it would decide the winner and the loser of the game...!

Carl came from a large family and they were there the mother and father, grand parents, aunts and uncles to cheer him on and the opposing crowd was there to jeer Carl. The stakes were high, the energy was reaching an amazing pitch as the pitcher threw the first pitch. Strike one, the crowd really got into it, both yelling support and ridicule.

Carl was going to be the hero or the loser with the second pitch, Strike two. The crow continued the noise as the third pitch came across the plate Carl swung a might swing and everyone saw the ball fly into the catchers mitt. Strike three your out. Not only was Carl out, the game was over and he was the cause of the loss.

The winning team went crazy, their families swarmed out onto the field, everyone having their own kind of celebration. All except Carl’s team. As Carl’s team walked quietly off the field. dejected, they mingled with their families and headed back to their cars in silence.

Carl was still standing at the plate, devastated, alone his head down in disgrace.

Then it happened Someone yelled “Come on Carl, pick up the bat. Grandpa’s pitching.”

Bewildered Car; slowly picked up the bat and swung at Grandpa’s first pitch. He missed, and he missed the next six pitches. On the seventh pitch he got hold of the ball and sent it into left field. His aunt ran, picked up the ball and threw it to first base with plenty of time for the out. The first baseman Mom, must have lost the ball in the sun because it went right through her hands into the dugout. “Run” everyone yelled. As Carl was running to second, the first baseman recovered the ball and threw it. Amazingly Uncle David was blinded by the sun as well. “Keep running!”, yelled someone and Carl headed for third, where the throw went at least two feet over the head of the third baseman. “Keep running, Carl” and Carl raced for home, running as hard as he had ever run. The ball was thrown with deadly accuracy as the catcher, blocking home plate, waited to tag him out, but just as Carl reached home plate, the ball bounced in and out of the catcher’s mitt, and Carl was Safe.”

Before he knew what was happening, Carl found himself being carried around on Uncle David’s shoulders while the rest of the family crowded around cheering Carl’s name.

One person watching this whole thing said “I watched a little boy fall victim to a conspiracy of grace.”

Carl was the loser, the one who struck out, failed his team, disappointed his family went from loser to hero. Carl, who would have been left with the awful memory of his failure, was instead given a memory of grace, love, and acceptance. Just like the woman at the well.

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