Sermon Illustrations

College President Stoops to Child’s Level

Our world places little value on children, but Jesus says they are the most important people of all.

Why? Because to be little is to be great in God’s eyes, and to receive a child is like receiving Christ. It’s a lesson Jesus wanted His disciples to learn, and it’s a lesson He wants us to learn, as well.

When pastor and author, Clark Cothern, was five years old, he thought college presidents were powerful, frightening beings. His mother was Dean of Women at Grand Canyon College (now a university) in Phoenix, Arizona, at the time, and he remembers playing behind her desk in the administration building.

From there, he watched as students walked slowly down the hall toward the president’s office and stop. They would rub their sweaty palms on their pants or skirts, take a deep breath, straighten their shoulders, and knock. The door would creak open, and that’s when he would catch a glimpse of the president’s shiny, black wingtip shoes. A steady, strong hand would reach through and shake the trembling hand of the student. The student would then disappear inside the mysterious chamber known as “The President’s Office.”

Cothern figured that walking into that room must be pretty much like going before the throne of judgment. It was a terrifying thought, that is, until the day the president stooped into his world.

He says, “I was playing with my toy car in the hall outside his office when the door opened. There they were those shiny, black wingtip shoes. The next thing I knew, President Robert Sutherland, the biggest man on campus, dressed in his pinstriped, three-piece suit, knelt down. He placed the knee of his crisply creased trousers on the hallway floor. ‘May I have a turn?’ he asked.”

After they played cars together, President Sutherland asked little Clark if he would do him the favor of calling him “Dr. Bob.” Clark Cothern says, “That’s the day my opinion about college presidents changed.”

Then he says, “I can see how some people might think God is a powerful, frightening being. Yet after I met him, my opinion about him changed, too. John 1:14 says, ‘The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.’” (Clark Cothern, in his sermon, When God Stooped,

Jesus stooped low into our world. The greatest became the least and served the least among us, and that’s what He wants us to do as well.

From a sermon by C. Philip Green, The Way to Greatness, 12/31/2009

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