Sermon Illustrations

William Willimon used to be the dean of the chapel at Duke University. "One day he received a phone call from a very irate father. The father exploded on the other end of the line, telling Willimon furiously, ’I hold you personally responsible for this!’ He was angry because his graduate-school-bound daughter had decided (in his words) ’to throw it all away and go and do mission work in Haiti with the Presbyterian Church.’

The father screamed, ’Isn’t that absurd! She has a B.S. degree from Duke and she is going to dig ditches in Haiti! I hold you responsible for this!’

Willimon said, ’Why me?’ The father said, ’You ingratiated yourself and filled her with all this religion stuff.’

Will Willimon is not easily intimidated. He asked the father, ’Sir, weren’t you the one who had her baptized?’

’Well, well, well, yes.’

’And didn’t you take her to Sunday School when she was a little girl?’

’Well, well, yes.’

’And didn’t you allow your daughter to go on those youth group ski trips to Colorado when she was in high school?’

’Yes . . . but what does that have to do with anything?’

’Sir, you are the reason she is throwing it all away. You introduced her to Jesus. Not me!’

’But,’ said the father, ’all we wanted was a Presbyterian.’

Willimon, who has an instinct for the jugular, replied, ’Well, sorry, sir, you messed up. You’ve gone and made a disciple.’"

(Len Sweet, Preaching Plus, 2/15/2004)