Sermon Illustrations

Hypocrites Do Things for the Show

During my childhood - as I was growing up - anything "modern" was considered good! Whatever the current fad was, it was something that I wanted to have - and, I was convinced, like everyone else, that the new item was better - even when it came to "modern food;" if you can remember, there was Astronaut ice cream, Tang, Cheez Whiz; and, Jiffy Pop! Now, if you are too young to remember those things, Jiffy Pop was a flat aluminum "frying pan" filled with kernels of popping corn; and, sealed with a light, thin foil covering. The "frying pan" was put over a hot burner and as the popcorn inside heated up and hot air was generated, the thin foil-covering puffed up into a big, shiny balloon. To eat the popcorn, you punctured the balloon and peeled the foil back, revealing the steamy popcorn.

Once microwave popcorn hit the store shelves, Jiffy Pop lost its popularity - however, hunters and hikers still find it a fun campfire food! It was Jiffy Pop that came to mind recently when the Fort Collins, Colorado "Balloon Boy" hoax took over the television sets for the greater part of our daytime news programming. The experimental silver Mylar "balloon" that was feared to hold the six-year-old son of Richard and Mayumi Heene, Falcon Heene, looked a whole lot like a giant container of Jiffy Pop!

Like Jiffy Pop, the report of a missing boy was full of nothing but hot air - like Jiffy Pop, which one eats at a show, the whole drama was "show food!" When the "Balloon Boy" scare was popped; and, the Mylar peeled back, what was finally revealed? Nothing but hot air - nothing but a huge hoax. It was the local Larimer County Sheriff, Jim Alderden, who summed up the fiasco! When asked to explain the wasted money and manhours spent looking for the boy - when the parents had set up the whole thing because they were looking for the publicity to get them a reality television show, the sheriff sighed, "They put on a good show for us, and we bought it."

In a true example of Canadian-American radio and television personality’s Arthur Gordon "Art" Linkletter’s "Kids Say The Darndest Things," it was little Falcon Heene who outed his parents; and, let the truth slip out! On the "Larry King Live" television show, guest-hosted by German-born Cable News Network (CNN) reporter, Wolf Isaac Blitzer (Born: 1948), Falcon Heene was asked by Wolf Blitzer why he hid from everyone when they were searching for him - the little boy swallowed hard, looked into the camera and at his father and said, "You guys said that, um, we did this for the show." It took a little child to tell the truth! To bring the sheriff’s words and the child’s words together, the entire episode was an example of "Show and Sell" - putting on a good show - selling us a bill of goods to buy - and, we bought it - "Hook, Line," and Sinker!"

If I were limited to one phrase that summarizes our condition, today, the nature of our plight and our problems, it might just be this one, "We did it for the show!" Too often, for Christians, putting on a show has been the motivation behind our actions! Wall Street, with its Bernard Lawrence "Bernie" Madoff (Born: 1938), arguably the operator of the largest investment fraud in Wall Street history, put on a "good show" for Main Street! However, now it is intermission time - the lights have come on - and, suddenly, we see a "show" that does not care about providing jobs - that does not care about saving homes - that does not care about building up small businesses - the greatest source of new jobs! The problem is that the Wall Street financial "show" is entertainment for only the chosen few - the "fat cats" of society!


1. "Show and Sell or Show and Tell?" a sermon by Rev. Dr. Leonard I. Sweet, found at, used by permission, accessed 04 November 2009.

2. "The New Scofield Study Bible," King James Version (KJV), edited by C.I. Scofield, c1967,1998 New York: Oxford University Press, Inc., p. 1538.

3. "," ((Falcon Heene), (Wolf Isaac Blitzer), (Leonard I. Sweet), (Bernard Lawrence "Bernie" Madoff), (Arthur Gordon "Art" Linkletter), (Barack Hussein Obama), (Lawrence Welk), (Katie Irene Gosselin), (Vicky Lynn Marshall), accessed 04 November 2009.

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