Sermon illustrations


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

A Coca-Cola Philosophy & Empty Calories

Studies reveal that 37 percent of Americans take fewer than seven days of vacation a year. In fact, only 14 percent take vacations that last longer than two weeks. Americans take the shortest paid vacations of anyone in the world. And 20 percent of those who do, often spend their vacation staying in touch with their jobs through their computers or phones.

The point? Even when we do vacation, we do it poorly. But even if we did vacation well and took great amounts of time off for restorative rest, vacations are a poor substitute for a weekly day of Sabbath rest. I think the devil loves taking that which is of God and giving us cheap knockoffs. When God invents sugar, the devil makes Sweet’N Low.

When God makes sex, the devil comes up with adultery. The devil always twists the goodness of God. The Bible is silent on vacations. Why? Because if we kept a weekly Sabbath, we would not need vacations. Vacations are what Jürgen Moltmann has called the “Coca – Cola philosophy” of Western life.

In the 1990s, Coca-Cola had a well-known campaign depicting people doing hard work, then popping open a cold bottle of Coke and taking a swig. We yearn for the “pause that refreshes. ” Unfortunately, we try to refresh ourselves with empty calories, or vacations, which are not what we really need. Our souls stir, longing for Sabbath. Not for the frills of a can of saccharine drink, a sugary vacation.

A.J. Swoboda, Subversive Sabbath: The Surprising Power of Rest in a Nonstop World, Baker Publishing Group, 2018, Kindle Location 549.

Drifting in the Ocean

If you’ve ever spent time in the ocean, whether it be swimming, body-surfing, boogie-boarding—you know how easy it is to drift. One minute your family is right in front of you on the beach, the next minute you look up they are nowhere to be found. 

Biblical writers wrote about drifting because it is in some ways as easy to do in life as it is in the ocean. We start in one place, but eventually we end up in another. What is required is a harbor, a place we can return to again and again.

Stuart Strachan Jr.

Sabbath vs. Vacation

What differentiates a weekly Sabbath from a vacation? Quite a bit, in fact. When my son was four, he learned how to put his head underwater when swimming. Elliot can hold his breath for a good ten seconds, a feat indeed. Still, he cannot believe how long I can hold mine — upward of sixty seconds. When we both emerge from the water, we catch our breaths. It would be fascinating to watch someone go about their life holding their breath all the time and breathing only when they absolutely had to — a difficult life that would be.

A Sabbath is like breathing. Imagine a life where your breath once every sixty seconds. Or, can you think of what life would be like if we opted to breathe for only two weeks out of the year? It is interesting that God’s invitation to rest once a week is so hard for us to grapple with, yet we do not blink at the notion of breathing all the time. A rest is not the only thing that matters. What matters even more is the consistency and rhythm of rest that we enter into.

A.J. Swoboda, Subversive Sabbath: The Surprising Power of Rest in a Nonstop World, Baker Publishing Group, 2018, Kindle Location 562.

See also Illustrations on Sabbath, Seas