Sermon Illustrations

New York City Mayor Admits Mistake and Silences Reporters

Back in 1980 New York City Mayor Ed Koch appeared on a local news program in the middle of the city’s financial crisis. Koch had spent over a quarter of a million dollars to put up bike lanes in Manhattan, and they turned out to be a disaster. Cars were driving in the bike lanes, pedestrians were walking in the them, and bikers were getting crowded out. It was a mess and many people in New York were irate about it.

Koch was coming up for re-election, so a handful of journalists cornered him on this show, planning to tear him to pieces for spending money foolishly when the city was nearly broke. One reporter said, "Mayor, in light of the financial difficulties New York City is facing, how could you possibly justify wasting $300,000 on bike lanes?"

The stage was set for a half-hour confrontation. Instead, Koch said, "It was a terrible idea. I thought it would work, but it didn’t. It was one of the worst mistakes I ever made." Then he stopped. None of the other journalists knew what to say or do. They were expecting him to squirm and make excuses, but he didn’t even try.

The next journalist stammered and said, "But Mayor Koch, how could you do this?"

Koch said, "I already told you. It was a stupid idea. It didn’t work." Then he stopped.

There was still 26 minutes left to go on the news show, and the reporters had to find something else to talk about.

Because he was willing to accept that it was wrong… he won both Democratic AND Republican support.

When we acknowledge that certain things are wrong in our lives, and we determine not to live like that anymore then we get something far more important than the support of Democrats or Republicans. We get God’s support. And we get that support because we’ve determined to live HOLY lives. Lives that have been “set apart” with no excuses.

From a sermon by Jeff Strite, B Imitators, 11/1/2009

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