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Sermon illustrations

Building/Construction

Built By No One

Sir Isaac Newton had a perfectly scaled down replica of the then known solar system built for his studies. A large golden ball represented the sun at the center, and the known planets revolved around it through a series of cogs, belts, and rods. It was an incredible machine. One day while Newton was studying his model, an agnostic friend stopped by for a visit.

The man marveled at the machinery and asked, “Who made this exquisite thing?” Without looking up, Newton replied, “Nobody.” “Nobody?” his friend asked. “That’s right,” said Newton, “all of these balls and cogs and belts and gears just happened to come together, and wonder of wonders, by chance they began revolving in their set orbits with perfect timing.”

Andy Cook

The Elderly Contractor

An elderly master carpenter was ready to retire. He told his employer of his plans to leave the house building business and live a more leisurely life with his wife enjoying his extended family. 

He would miss the paycheck, but he needed to retire. They could get by. The contractor was sorry to see his good worker go and asked if he could build just one more house as a personal favor. The carpenter said yes, but in time it was easy to see that his heart was not in his work. He resorted to shoddy workmanship and used inferior materials. It was an unfortunate way to end his career.

When the carpenter finished his work and the builder came to inspect the house, the contractor handed the front-door key to the carpenter. “This is your house,” he said, “my gift to you.”

Source Unknown

God Became Flesh and Built Something

Jesus also spent time—decades even—building stuff. Jesus was a tradesman. He is called a tekton (Mark 6:3), a builder who used his hands. God came to earth and apparently thought it worth his while to take some wood or stone or metal and make something. What did he make? We have no idea.

Apparently nothing earth-shattering enough to have kept around. But in this dark world, where men and women were dying, where the poor were suffering, where injustice raged in a vast and violent empire, God became flesh and built some furniture…The light came into the darkness and did ordinary work.

Taken from Prayer in the Night: For Those Who Work or Watch or Weep by Tish Harrison Warren Copyright (c) 2021 by Tish Harrison Warren. Published by InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL. www.ivpress.com

The Pride of the Titanic

I know most of us have probably heard enough stories about the Titanic, but it does stand as an amazing monument to the famous saying, slightly altered, “pride goes before the fall/destruction.” (Proverbs 16:18)

Did you know that the Titanic took 12,000 men two years to build? When it set sail from Belfast, North Ireland, it was the largest sailing vessel ever made. It was also, of course, considered unsinkable. The Captain of the ship even went on record as saying, “Even God himself cannot sink this ship.” 

Famous last words, wouldn’t you say? And that is of course because the Titanic did sink, because that very same captain would not change course as they crashed into icebergs in the Atlantic. So many lives lost simply because of pride. Think of all the other ways lives are lost, or damaged, because we are too proud to change our minds or our behaviors.

Stuart Strachan Jr.

That Fast?

Jimmy Carter, the 39th president of the United States, once visited the Great Pyramid of Giza as part of an official state visit. When visiting the Great Pyramid of Giza, he was told it had taken twenty years to build. “I’m surprised that a government organization could do it that quickly,” Carter answered.

Stuart Strachan Jr., Source Material from Clifton Fadiman, Bartlett’s Book of Anecdotes.

See also Illustrations on Achievement, Foundations, Gardening/Farming, Leadership, Work