Sermon Illustrations

TWENTY-SIX MEN STANDING

A missionary on furlough told this true story while visiting his home church in MI.

"While serving at a small field hospital in Africa, every 2 weeks I traveled by bicycle through the jungle to the nearest large city for supplies. This was a journey of 2 days and required camping overnight at the halfway point in the jungle.

"On one of these trips, just as I arrived in the city I saw two men fighting, one of whom had been injured. As a missionary doctor I intervened and treated his injuries. And at the same time I talked to him about the Lord Jesus Christ.

"Afterwards I went about my planned tasks--collecting money from a bank, purchasing medicine and supplies--then began my 2-day journey back to the field hospital. Halfway back, I camped overnight as usual, then arrived home without incident.

"Two weeks later I repeated my trip. Upon arriving in the city, I was met by the young man I had treated. He told me that it was known that I regularly carried money and medicines. He said, 'Two weeks ago several of us followed you back into the jungle, knowing that you would camp overnight. We planned to kill you and take everything. But just as we were about to come into your camp, we saw that you were surrounded by 26 armed guards. So we left.'

"At this I laughed to myself & said that I was certainly all alone out in that jungle campsite. The young man wouldn't accept my word, though. He said, 'No sir. I was not the only one to see the guards. There were 6 of us who saw them, and we all counted them. It was because of those 26 guards that we were afraid and left you alone.'

As the missionary was telling this story in his home church in Michigan, one of the men of the congregation jumped to his feet & asked if the missionary could tell him the exact date this had happened. The missionary told him, and the man then told him this story:

"On the night of your incident in Africa, it was morning here and I was preparing to go play golf. But for some reason I felt a very strong urge to pray for you. In fact, the urging was so strong that I called men in this church to meet with me here in the sanctuary to pray for you. Would all of those men who met with me on that day please stand up?"

The men who had met together to pray that day stood up. As the missionary looked around the room at those who were standing, he wasn't so concerned with who they were -- he was too busy counting how many they were. There were 26 men standing!

(From a sermon by Melvin Newland, God Takes Promises Seriously, 11/24/2010)

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