Sermon Illustrations

A few years ago I was working on a class for my undergraduate degree in religion. For the final exam you were required to write a series of brief essays on several Christian doctrines. Well, I worked feverishly on the project. I really wanted to get a high grade on the project since this class was a part of my major.

When I submitted the project I was convinced that I had done a great job on the project and I was sure to get an “A.” When I received back the graded paper a week or so later I was shocked! I had received a big bold “F” on the project. My heart sunk. I thought for sure there had been some kind of mistake. So I flipped to the back of the paper and there in big red letters were just four words, “Great job – Wrong test.”

I had misread the instructions for the project and instead of writing a series of short essays I had chosen just one of the subjects from the list of ten and developed a full blown thesis! I had poured my heart into the project… but I had come up short… because though I had done a great job… I had taken the wrong test.

The professor was kind enough to let me redo the project and in the end I did get an “A.” So the story does have a good ending. But I wonder… how many of us… when we pass from this life to the next will stand before our Lord and hear Him say, “Nice boat, great car, wonderful reputation.” Followed by the simple words… “Great job – wrong test.”

You see success in life is not defined by the things we possess, the cars we drive, the boats we own, our reputation, or any other thing that we might cling to in this life. Why is that so often we find ourselves so focused on the things of this life? Why is that we live as though we can take anything tangible from this life to the next?