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Sermon illustrations

Cost

Buried in the Holy Land?

A man went on vacation to the Holy Land with his wife and her mother. While in Israel, the mother-in-law died from a heart attack. The couple went to a local undertaker, who explained that they could either ship the body home which would cost more than $1500, or they could bury her right there in the Holy Land for only $150. 

The man said, “We’ll ship her home. “Surprised, the undertaker responded, “Are you sure? That’s an awfully big expense, and we can do a very nice burial here. “The man said, “Look, 2000 years ago they buried a guy here and three days later He rose from the dead. I just can’t take that chance.” 

Source Unknown

Lowering His Price Based on Appearances

Honoré de Balzac would eventually become a celebrated writer in post-Napoleanic France. He was renowned for his complex characters and realistic writing style. But like many young and aspiring writers, he lived a rather bohemian and frugal lifestyle. Nevertheless, when word got out in Paris that he was a writer of significant promise, a Parisian bookseller decided to offer him 3,000 francs for his next novel.

Upon arriving at Balzac’s address, clearly in a rough part of town, he decided to drop his price to 2,000 francs. Once entering the house, he again dropped his price to 1,500 francs. When he finally entered Balzac’s cramped attic apartment, the price dropped again to 300 francs. This was ultimately how the manuscript for The Last Fay, a genre-breaking book would be published, a book that would help catapult his career.

Stuart Strachan Jr.

The Sly Farmer

A canny Maine farmer was approached by a stranger one day and asked how much he thought his prize Jersey cow was worth. The farmer thought for a moment, looked the stranger over, then said: “Are you the tax assessor, or has she been killed by your car?”

Source Unknown

When the Mission is Clear

A documentary about Ernest Shackleton’s early twentieth-century exposition to the South Pole shows the classified ad Shackleton put in a London newspaper:   “Men wanted for hazardous journey, small wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger, safe return doubtful. Honor and recognition in case of success.” Ernest Shackleton.

Men responded to Shackleton’s advertisement in droves.

Why? Because the mission was clear. The cost and potential loss both drew the right men and made sure the wrong men didn’t sign up. God’s mission, similarly, is not for the faint of heart. Even becoming a Christian, according to Jesus, should be weighed heavily. Luke says, “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish”’ (Luke 14:28-30).”

Hugh Halter, The Tangible Kingdom: Creating Incarnational Community.

See also Illustrations on Money, Value