Sermon Illustrations

Homeless Man Comes Home to His Mother

In 1988 there was a story in the LA Times entitled “A Mother’s Search for Russell Love.” It told of a woman in Houston named Beverly Elliott. She had not seen her son, Russell Love, for four years and had not heard from him in two years; but she knew he was homeless somewhere in Los Angeles County. The FBI and L.A. Police said they could not help her. Longing for her son to come home, in October she ran a personal ad in the Times for twelve days. It read, “Russell L. Love from Houston or anyone knowing where he lives, please call his mother collect: 713-447-5968. Russell, your mother will never forget you. She loves you!” She desperately hoped someone would get in touch with her. A man named Ralph Campbell, who had spent twenty five years living on the street, had once given some extra sandwiches to a friend. He remembered that this friend had turned to another homeless man and said, Russ, do you want a sandwich?” Campbell phoned the newspaper. He led a reporter to some shipping containers in a parking lot. There were some bedrolls there just where he thought this Russ might be sleeping. The next morning the reporter returned and saw a young, blond man asleep, rolled up in a bright yellow blanket. When he awoke, he lay there and smoked a cigarette. The reporter asked if he was Russell Love. He said he was. “Your mother wants you to call her,” said the reporter. On Friday he did so. They talked three more times over the next week and after she sent him some money Russell flew home. Upon his return they “grabbed each other and hugged and hugged.” Said Russell, “It feels great to be home.” I’d say Russell was ecstatic.

It feels good to be home. Tonight you have the opportunity to come home, to return to your Father. He has not forgotten you and He never will. He will always love you. Jesus is waiting for you, to take you there. All He needs is you. You are, after all, the one He came for in the first place. COME HOME.

From a sermon by Curry Pikkaart, Living in Ecstasy, 12/26/2009

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