Sermon Illustrations

There is a very old story about a man and his boy who were walking through the jungle and came upon a man who had fallen into a pit dug to trap lions. He had been trying in vain for hours to climb out and had accomplished nothing except to exhaust himself.

Nighttime was about to fall and both he and the man with the boy knew that if they did not get him out he would die before morning. Seeing nothing readily available to make a ladder with, the man looked up and high in a tree just over the pit he could see a vine, that with one end cut would reach down to the pit and give the man something to hold on to and climb out.

The problem was the tree was not strong-looking and the branches could not bear a lot of weight.

The small boy volunteered to climb up and cut the vine, pointing out that his light weight could be borne by the slight branches. The father finally agreed and the boy climbed with his father’s knife up to the high branches, where he cut one end of the vine and it snaked down into the hole in which the man was trapped.

As he did so however, the branch on which he was perched snapped under his weight and the boy came crashing to the ground where he instantly died.

As the father held the broken and lifeless body of his precious son to his breast and wept, he heard the voice of the man in the pit calling to him. He stepped to the edge of the hole and looked down, and the man said, “Look, I’m very sorry about your son. But that vine does not look strong and the branches of the tree look brittle. I think you should provide another way – a safer way out of the pit for me.

The father stood silently and looking down for just a moment, then in controlled anger he quietly said to the man, “My son died providing a way for you to be saved; and the only way you are going to get out of that pit is if you take advantage of it.”