Sermon Illustrations


A widow, shortly after her husband’s death, was going through his papers. She found a couple of old certificates, yellowed with age and crumbling into dust. They had been made out to her husband more than fifty years ago, and seemed to be some kind of promissory notes. Some sort of company had written out these certificates and they seemed to indicate that her husband had invested five thousand dollars with these people, way back before they married.

Well, she read them over a couple of times, didn’t really understand all the legal gobbledygook, took another look at their age, thought about the fact that they were buried at the bottom of his desk drawer and that he had never said anything about them. She decided that they were worthless. Just worthless paper, and she threw them into the garbage.

A couple of weeks later she had a call from her lawyer, asking her if there were any other assets to be dealt with in the estate. The lawyer asked, "Did your husband have any investments? Did he lend any money to anyone?" She told the lawyer about the papers. Guess what?! With accumulated interest over fifty years, she had pitched into the trash well over $30,000! Finders keepers, losers weepers, because when you don’t know the value of something and you destroy it, sooner or later you are going to discover how valuable it was. You are going to regret having destroyed it, because it is your loss.

(From a sermon by Joseph Smith, Finders Keepers, Losers Weepers, 10/17/2009)

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