Sermon illustrations


Loss vs. Offering

A chaplain was speaking to a soldier on a cot in a hospital. “You have lost an arm in the great cause,” he said. “No,” said the soldier with a smile. “I didn’t lose it–I gave it.” In that same way, Jesus did not lose His life. He gave it purposefully.

Source Unknown

A Poor Woman And A Rich Man

Imagine you’re a financial counselor. Today you have two appointments, first with an elderly woman and then a middle-aged man. The woman’s husband died six years ago. She says, “I have no more money. The cupboards are bare. These two dollars are all I have to live on, yet I feel as if God wants me to put them in the offering.

What do you think?” What would you tell her? Likely you’d say, “That’s very generous of you, but God gave you common sense. He knows your heart—that you want to give. But he intends you to take care of yourself. I’m sure God would have you keep those two dollars and buy food for tomorrow. You can’t expect him just to send down food from heaven, can you? God wants us to be sensible.”

Your next appointment is with a successful, hardworking, middle-aged farmer whose crop production has been excellent. He tells you, “I’m planning to tear down my old barns to build bigger ones so I can store up more crops and goods and have plenty saved up for the future.

Then I can take it easy, retire early, and do some traveling and golfing. What do you think?” How would you answer?

Perhaps like this: “Sounds good to me! You’ve worked hard. God has blessed you with good crops. It’s your business, your crops, your money. If you can save up enough to take care of yourself the rest of your life, by all means go for it. I hope one day I’ll be in a position to do the same!” Wouldn’t such advice to this poor widow and rich man appear reasonable? What would God have to say about it?

Randy Alcorn, The Law of Rewards: Giving what you can’t keep to gain what you can’t lose, Tyndale Momentum, 2003.

Sitting Down in the Dust

Few stories are more deserving of documentaries and a movie than the story of Mama Heidi. After missionary Heidi Baker and her husband earned their PhDs, God told Heidi, “Sit in the dust.” She had no idea what that meant, but she prayed to be led. And God led her to a dump in Mozambique where she did what she was told and sat in the dust and dirt and there discovered her mission. Eventually she became a leading force in Mozambique for getting some seven thousand orphans adopted and ordaining six thousand pastors in the bush.  

Leonard Sweet, The Bad Habits of Jesus: Showing us the Way to Live Right In a World Gone Wrong, Tyndale House Publishers.

A Surprise in the Offering Plate

One Sunday, an usher brought to me an offering plate holding a bacon biscuit that a college student had deposited in the morning offering. A little note attached said, “Silver and gold have I none, but such as I have give I unto thee. This is what you can expect when you have a church with a large number of college students around.

J.D. Grear, Jesus, Continued: Why the Spirit Inside You is Better than Jesus Beside You, Zondervan.

See also Illustrations on Atonement, Jesus, Sacrifice

Still Looking for inspiration?

Consider checking out our quotes page on Offering. Don’t forget, sometimes a great quote is an illustration in itself!

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