Sermon Illustrations

Compassion for "Dirty Dog Gentiles"

Mark 7:36-37 Jesus commanded them not to tell anyone. But the more he did so, the more they kept talking about it. People were overwhelmed with amazement. “He has done everything well,” they said. “He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.” (NIV)

These “dirty dog” Gentiles showed more faith than the religious leaders back in Israel. & Again it shows us those who are truly “clean” – not those who look good on the outside, but those who have a heart full of faith on the inside, even though they are not a part of our group.

These are the people Jesus touched, and These are the people Jesus wants us to touch, as well. He wants us to minister to those who are not a part of our group, to those who don’t measure up to our standards. You see, the church does not exist so much for itself, but for those who are outside the church and in desperate need of Jesus.

When Aaron Barg was three months old, a hernia left him in almost constant pain. His parents, Steve and Susan Barg, said finding a surgeon who could repair the hernia was easy, but finding an anesthesiologist was almost impossible.

With a rare genetic disorder, Aaron was born with a weakened heart and lungs and an undeveloped brain. On top of all that, he was deaf and legally blind. Doctors told the Barg’s that Aaron would most likely die within a year. If he survived beyond that time frame, his life would have little quality—he’d never speak, walk, or feed himself.

For most anesthesiologists, the risk was too high. They felt any operation could kill Aaron.

After several attempts, Susan Barg finally asked an anesthesiologist if he would like to hold Aaron. He did so for a full hour, and only then did he agree to assist in an operation. Since then, the same anesthesiologist has helped in several more operations for Aaron.

“He holds Aaron, and he becomes a human being,” Barg says. “Not a statistic, not a piece of medical research on a piece of paper—but a human being with a name who responds to touch and cuddling and love.”

Against all odds, Aaron grew into his teens and became a handsome boy with blond hair and a face that lit up when anyone he knew came by. If you bent down by his wheelchair, he would pull your face close to his, stare deeply into your eyes and stroke your face. Though he couldn’t speak, his eyes and hands told you that he knew you were there. And he far exceeded all expectations! He could move his wheelchair, feed himself, and even communicate using five hand signals. (Bob Smietana, “When Does Personhood Begin?” Christianity Today, July 2004, p. 24;

Our society tends to reject those who would have little quality of life. Most often, we ignore such people; we look away, hoping they don’t bother us.

But Jesus calls us to a different way of life. Like Him, He wants us to hold such people, so they become real to us, so they become people with a name, who respond to touch and cuddling and love.

Then, when we touch people as representatives of Christ, may others say, “HE has done everything well.”

From a sermon by C. Philip Green, Feed the Dogs, 10/16/2009

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