Sermon Illustrations

Thomas Costain’s history, The Three Edwards, describes the life of Raynald III, a fourteenth century duke in what is now Belgium.

Grossly overweight, Raynald was often called by his Latin nickname, Crassus, which means “fat.”

After a violent quarrel, Raynald’s younger brother Edward led a successful revolt against him.

Edward captured Raynald, but did not kill him. Instead, he built a room around Raynald in Nieuwkerk castle and promised him he could regain his title and property as soon as he was able to leave the room.

This would not have been difficult for most people since the room had several windows and a door of near-normal size, and none was locked or barred. The problem was Raynald’s size. To regain his freedom, he needed to lose weight. But Edward knew his older brother, and each day he sent a variety of delicious foods. Instead of dieting his way out of prison, Raynard grew fatter.

When Duke Edward was accused of cruelty, he had a ready answer: “My brother is not a prisoner. He may leave when he so wills.”

Raynard stayed in that room for 10 years and wasn’t released until after Edward died in battle. By then, his health was so ruined that he died within a year—the prisoner of his own appetite.

Page 214 in Illustrations for Preaching & Teaching (From Leadership Journal) Edited by Craig Brian Larson

Copyright 1993 by Christianity Today, Inc.

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