Sermon Illustrations

As Clayton J. Schmit put it in his commentary on our text, “The moment of birth is one of unspeakable joy. Yet, if parents stopped to count the cost of taking a child home (which, fortunately, they never do) they might be tempted to turn the gift down.

The cost of baby food and diapers, sleepless nights and worrisome days, braces for the teeth, clothes and school supplies and college tuition, and repairs to the fenders of the family car, heartaches and disappointments, and weddings; it would not be surprising for a young parent to say, “No thanks. I think I’ll pass on the gift.” [2] Clearly, the gift of a child brings responsibilities. But it also brings tremendous joy to every loving parent.

Dr. Schmit goes on to say that the same kind of responsibilities come with God’s gift of his kingdom. They are not insignificant responsibilities. We are to give up the materialistic way of the world, and share our wealth with those in need. We are to work toward expanding God’s kingdom to those we meet, love our neighbors as ourselves, and witness to others that we know the redeeming love of God. It too, is a gift that if one was to stop and calculate the responsibilities, might terrify the recipient.

Yet along with these demanding responsibilities, the gift of God’s kingdom also brings with it the joy of knowing God’s redeeming grace, of not having to carry the burden of our sins and failures around like an iron fetter attached to our ankles. And most importantly, the gift of God’s kingdom offers the hope of new life, as we realize that we are members of God’s extended family.

From: Ronald Harbaugh’s, "The Kingdom Is God’s Gift to the Church, Not Individuals"