Summary: 29. What are these small gifts that I have among so many? We, with our small gifts our time, our talents and our treasures what are they among so many lost people in the world today? What difference would it make if I gave them to Jesus? There has got to
SPECIAL PREPARATION FOR SERMON – Have a medium sized basket with two Italian style loaves of bread in the basket (have the loaves showing at the top as though you were modeling it for a picture). Along with the bread hid in the bottom a large bag of M&M’s. Put this out of sight of the congregation until the appropriate time in sermon.
What is in Your Basket?
1. I almost met the President of the United States once. Well, actually I thought I was going to meet him. It was in 1999 during his run against Al Gore. George W. Bush was coming to our little town of Alton, Illinois for a rally. This was the first time I know of that a future president was coming to our town since the famous Lincoln Douglass debates. I remember the excitement of believing that I might actually get to shake the hand of the future President.
2. I had just started my first pastorate at that time had been discussing what had been happening in the Whitehouse under the current administration. The position that I highly regarded as a sacred position seemed to have been tarnished by the Monica Lewinski incident.
3. I had heard that this presidential hopeful was a pro-life Christian, and that he wanted to bring Christian values back into the Whitehouse. I can remember thinking that we had a chance to become one nation under God again.
4. I was told that the preparations for this event started four months in advance. For what seemed to be a simple chance to meet the president had actually employed some of the most talented and gifted people in our area. It cost the Republican Party over $150,000.
5. There were people that did set design, costuming; there were audio and video specialists. They had even had people to go out into the area perform door to door surveys to get the felt needs of the community.
6. The rally was to take place at 5:00 in the evening and I had been told that there were people there at five o’clock in the morning getting the best seats available, and bringing their food and families with them. The first couple of rows were of course reserved for the prominent leaders in the area and the leaders of the Republican Party. I also found out that the leaders got a special meeting with the presidential candidate after the rally.
7. It is amazing that I thought when I pulled up at ten minutes before five (parking almost a mile away) that I actually thought I would meet the future President. Even when I found a place to stand on a hillside almost a hundred yards away, I still had hope that somehow I would get to meet the man.
8. I suppose I thought that he would walk up the hill and shake our hands, or there would be a long line of over eight thousand people, each of us getting a chance to meet him. All I knew was there was a chance and I was not about to leave until he left.
9. Reflecting back on this memory helps me to picture what it must have been like at the Sea of Galilee. People were excited about the future with Jesus as king. They had seen him perform miracles, they had heard rumors that this was the Messiah, they had set by his feet while he taught, others had probably heard rumors about him becoming the new king and running Rome out of town. There is one thing for sure; as long as he was around, they were not leaving.