3-Week Series: Double Blessing

Sermon Illustrations

The Gold Watch- Lucille Wales’ husband Henry retired from his job as a mechanic at the local Ford dealership he was given a gold watch inscribed with his name. Henry was so proud it became his greatest treasure. "Now I have something special I can leave to our son" he would tell his wife.

But the gift Lucille and Henry’s son wanted for them was to relocate. But Henry refused. Every day Henry and Lucille would work in the rose garden in front of their house. After awhile it was the only bright spot in the neighborhood. It wasn’t long before Lucille and Henry became known as the Rose couple.

Around 10 pm one evening a friend called asking Henry for help. His car had broken down and he needed Henry to help get it started again. Sounds like the carburetor—shouldn’t be long.

How about picking up some milk on the way home?" I asked. "Sure," Henry said, "but don’t wait up, honey." When I hadn’t heard from Henry by 11:30, I began to worry; Henry always called if he was delayed. I began to pace the floor and pray while I waited. After an eternity there was a knock on the door.

Later that evening her worst fears were confirmed. During an apparent robbery attempt, Henry and Charlie had been gunned down by neighborhood gang members. Both were dead. When personal effects were given to the family—the gold watch was not among them.

Lucille’s son tried to assure her that the loss of the Gold watch didn’t matter. She couldn’t be comforted about Henry or the watch. She often prayed, "Please, dear Lord, help the police find Henry’s killers. Weeks passed with no arrest. She would instinctively check the wrist of everyone who passed by; she even visited the local pawn shops.

Eventually Lucille’s children offered a reward for the return of the watch. Six months passed and no one responded. The owners of the Ford dealership presented Lucille with a gold watch exactly like the first one. But for Lucille it wasn’t the same.

Meanwhile Lucille’s roses had fallen into gross neglect. One weekend her oldest daughter came to stay overnight. The next morning she suggested they get up early and prune the roses.

As they worked in the garden a young African-American man walked past two or three times. He paused as if he wanted to say something. Finally Lucille spoke to him and said, "Son, would you like some of my Roses?"

Are you the Rose Lady, he asked. She nodded saying "Yes I am—who might you be?" "Name’s Jared" he mumbled. He hesitated a moment before he reached out and took the flowers be was holding out to him. Then he left without a word.

The next Saturday afternoon the young man appeared again. "You sure like my roses, son" she laughed as he stood staring. He appeared so nervous and jumpy that she suddenly became afraid.

"Rose Lady," he finally said, "I need to talk to you—it’s important." They sat in silence on the front port for a few minutes. Suddenly he reached in his pocket and pulled out a handkerchief. He cleared his throat and said, "Got something that belongs to you."

In the folds of the handkerchief was Henry’s watch. Tears streamed down her face. "I didn’t kill," he declared, "I swear."

Then Jared told his story: He was with his gang when they decided to rob Henry and Charlie. But Jared was shocked and angry when one of the gang members pulled a gun and shot the two men. "They told me to go over and get their wallets and check for jewelry," he explained, "but when I was unfastening the watch you husband said something. "He whispered, "Get my watch to the Rose Lady, tell her I love her."

"I hid the watch from them," he continued, "I was afraid to bring it to you sooner. Are you going to turn me into the police?"

"I’m going to ask you to do the right thing," Lucille told him. "It’s not that easy; you now" he said. "If I go the police those boys will relocate me to the cemetery. I’m sure it’s not easy, Lucille said, but I’ve always found that when you do the right thing—God will take care of the rest.

Lucille didn’t see the young man again. He did go the police and his friends were eventually arrested for the murders—but Jared was not charged. Lucille says, "it was as if he had given be back Henry’s watch and God gave Jared back his life."

Sometime later Lucille ran into one of Jared’s relatives. "Where is the young man these days?" She asked. "Oh, he’s in college right now!" she said proudly. "You tell him the Rose Lady said hello."

Years later hearing that Jared had graduate from college Lucille had an idea. She found the duplicate gold watch boxed it up and sent it to the new graduate with the best wishes of the Rose Lady."

Of the experience Lucille says, "my roses and my heart were in full bloom again. But Lucille’s forgiveness made a difference in the life of Jared-freeing him from his past to become someone new. (A Match Made in Heaven, by Susan Wales and Ann Platz)