Sermon illustrations


Hearing a Cricket in Times Square

Dana Visneskie tells the story of a Native American and his friend who were in downtown New York City, walking near Times Square in Manhattan. It was during the noon lunch hour and the streets were filled with people. Cars were honking their horns, taxicabs were squealing around corners, sirens were wailing, and the sounds of the city were almost deafening.

Suddenly, the Native American said, “I hear a cricket.”

His friend said, “What? You must be crazy. You couldn’t possibly hear a cricket in all of this noise!”

“No, I’m sure of it,” the Native American said. “I heard a cricket.”

“That’s crazy,” said the friend.

The Native American listened carefully for a moment, and then walked across the street to a big cement planter where some shrubs were growing. He looked into the bushes, beneath the branches, and sure enough, he located a small cricket. His friend was utterly amazed. “That’s incredible,” said his friend. “You must have super-human ears!”

“No,” said the Native American. “My ears are no different from yours. It all depends on what you’re listening for.”

“But that can’t be!” said the friend. “I could never hear a cricket in this noise.”

“Yes, it’s true,” came the reply. “It depends on what is really important to you. Here, let me show you.”

He reached into his pocket, pulled out a few coins, and discreetly dropped them on the sidewalk. And then, with the noise of the crowded street still blaring in their ears, they noticed every head within twenty feet turn and look to see if the money that tinkled on the pavement was theirs.

“See what I mean?” asked the Native American. “It all depends on what’s important to you.

Andy Cook

Street Ear Cleaners

In India, there are street ear cleaners. Standing in line at the theater, you might be approached by such a peddler promising to give your ears a good cleaning.

Leonard Sweet & Frank Viola, Jesus Speaks, Thomas Nelson.

Hearing the Voice of God in Jesus

If we want to hear the voice of God, we should pay attention to Jesus. We hear God’s voice in the teachings of Jesus as they are portrayed in the biblical gospels. We hear God’s voice through the actions of Jesus as they demonstrate and dramatize the good news of the kingdom of God. We hear God’s voice as the community of Jesus—instructed by the Scripture that bears witness to Jesus and inspired by the Spirit that empowered Jesus—discerns God’s guidance for today.

As Christians, we can easily fill our lives will all sorts of good things: studying theology, doing justice, creating beauty, leading organizations, raising children, and so forth. Yet, every now and then, in the midst of our busyness, we ought to ask ourselves, “Am I paying attention to Jesus? Am I hearing God’s voice through the Word made flesh?”

Taken from Mark D. Roberts, Life for Leaders, a Devotional Resource of the DePree Leadership Center at Fuller Theological Seminary

What Instrument Should My Son Learn?

Sir Thomas Beecham, a famous British conductor, was once asked advice from a lady regarding which instrument her son should learn next. Her son, whose first attempt at both the violin and trombone were so painful on her family’s ears that the mother decided a change was in order, thought Mr. Beecham might have some advice on a different instrument. When asked, Sir Thomas replied, “The bagpipes; they sound exactly the same when you have mastered them as when you first begin learning them.”

Stuart Strachan Jr.

See also Illustrations on EyesListeningObedience.