Sermon Illustrations

God spoke to me recently through a homeless guy I know. This man is a full-blown practicing alcoholic. Does he live out the Shema of Jesus? No. Not even close. But he is pretty intelligent although not very wise (except he does exhibit occasional profound insight). When he is sober and cleaned up, he is good looking young man. But, he doesn’t care. He would rather drink than pay rent. He would rather spend his money on booze than food. “I’m not hurting anyone except myself.”

You see, God spoke to me through him. I used to say that very phrase. He is where I could have ended up if I would have kept going. Sacrificing intimate relationships and meaningful community for a life selfishness. Fooling himself into believing that those that he hangs out with really, truly care for him. That was me but for God’s grace. Not only did God speak to me in that way, God reminded me that I may not even have ended up as homeless perhaps killing myself by my addictions and maybe somebody else.

And as I thought this guy, I began to think about being created by God to live a life of giving. It seems to me that God is saying that not only am I responsible to my community of faith (koinonia) but doesn’t the community in which I reside and live and work and play and love have a claim upon me. Of course, I want to justify myself and ask how far does my community extend. What are the limits Jesus of this claim upon my life, my resources, my time, my talents, my skills, my money, my love? It seems that there needs to be some limits. I’m wrestling with God on this. Are the limits really set in stone and are they really limits that God wants me to place or that I feel are needed in order to preserve something I believe that I need?

God created us with the gift of life, with blessings, with resources, with time, with talents and God’s intention is that we give more than we receive. God’s intends for us to pour into the lives those around us so that if we are hoarding or selfishly wasting all this on ourselves, we are robbing the community of the gifts that God has made for us to give.

Yeah, God said all this through a selfish, homeless alcoholic. God can work in and through the darkest situations.