Sermon Illustrations


Last week I shared with you a story about a young man with bipolar disorder that died while I was a chaplain. For those of you who were with us, do you remember that? How the parents stayed with him and were there for him even though he put them through so much hell. They were there for him at the end.

Well, later that week I came into the ICU (this young man had died a couple of days earlier) and there was a young woman who had come in during the night. I talked to a nurse who said that no family had been in to see her and that maybe I should talk to her nurse outside.

When I approached her nurse, she was on the phone finishing up a call. At the end she said goodbye pushed the disconnect button and slammed the receiver down letting out a frustrated groan.

As it turned out, she was talking with this young lady’s family and was totally frustrated by their reaction. They apparently did not care to hear anything about her. They weren’t coming in to see and were not concerned that she was probably going to die. They were not really interested in hearing from the hospital if and when she died.

I don’t know the family’s story but apparently they were very involved in their church. We gathered from the state of her body that she was involved in prostitution and heavy drug abuse, including track marks all over her arms and old burns on her hands. Evidently she had put her family through hell with her choices. She had embraced a lifestyle that was destroyed her and was completely opposite to the way she had been raised. It seems in her family’s eyes that she was already dead. And they treated her as such. She was disowned.

I don’t judge or blame the family. I never got a chance to hear their story. She may have done some atrocious things. But the very fact that I had a chance to be there for two people in very similar circumstances and see two families completely opposite reactions has filled me with so much gratitude especially for the parents of the young man that I talked about last week.

Even now as I think about it, I am filled with so much gratitude for my own family that I just can’t express. Stories like these remind me of what my focus should be. They remind me of what giving thanks is all about. They remind me of my call to thanksliving.

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