Sermon Illustrations

Dr. Paul Tripp tells of a night in which he got home late from work after counseling all day and teaching an evening class at Westminster Seminary. He was tired and desperately wanted some relaxation time to read the paper, drink a diet coke and hit the remote control. Tripp had a plan for the evening and it centered on himself and his “needs.” His unexpressed hope was to find his wife and children asleep so he could be alone.

Instead, when he opened the door he heard Ethan, his teenage son, yelling. Listen to Tripp: “My disappointment gave way to anger. I wanted to grab Ethan and say, ‘Don’t you know what my day has been like? Don’t you know how tired I am? I wish for once you would think of somebody besides yourself.’

“These thoughts raged within me, but [by God’s grace] I did not say a word. I listened as Ethan poured out his complaint. He was as angry as he had ever been at his older brother. It was after ten. The issue that started this thing was petty. I was tempted to tell him to get a grip and deal with it, but another agenda gripped me. Here was one of those unexpected moments of opportunity, one of those mundane moments ordained by a loving and sovereign God where the heart of my teenager was being exposed…. The only question in the moment was whether I would pursue God’s agenda or my own. Would I believe the Gospel in that moment, trusting God to give me what I needed so that I could do what He was calling me to do in the life of my son?” (Age of Opportunity, 20-21).

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