Sermon Illustrations That’ll Preach!

A Lesson in Patience

I like the old story about the monk who was very impatient. The more he tried, the more impatient he became, so he decided that he must get away by himself and learn to be patient. He built himself a little home deep in the woods, far away from civilization.

Years later, a man was traveling in those woods and met him. The man was amazed to find anyone living so far away from the rest of the world, so he asked the monk why he was there all by himself.

The monk said that he was there to learn to be patient. The traveler asked how long he had been there, and the monk replied: seven years.

Stunned, the traveler asked, “If there is no one around to bother you, how will you know when you are patient?”

Annoyed, the monk replied, “Would you get out of here! I don’t have time for this!”

Just Because You Don’t See It Doesn’t Mean It Is Not There

The other day I was driving around the Tyrone Mall and noticed construction notices everywhere. There were also several signs on the outside gate advertising new stores. I tried to see the construction but the gate was blocking my view. I couldn’t see it but that does not mean nothing was happening. I am quite certain construction is going on.

In the same way we can’t always see God’s construction, but that doesn’t mean God is not at work. God always carefully constructs his plans. Whatever you are frustrated or impatient about right now just might be critical to God’s plan. God’s delay is not God’s denial; it’s the planning of his promise.

It’s All about Perspective

An 86 year old fisherman was sitting in his boat one day when he heard a voice say, “Pick me up.”  He looked around and couldn’t see any one.  He thought he was dreaming when he heard the voice say again, “Pick me up.”  He looked in the water and there, floating on the top, was a frog.  The man said, “Are you talking to me?”  The frog said, “Yes, I’m talking to you.  Pick me up.  Then, kiss me and I’ll turn into the most beautiful woman you have ever seen.  I will make you so happy.  I’ll be sure that all your friends are envious and jealous because you will have me as your bride.”

The old fisherman looked at the frog for a short time, reached over, picked it up carefully, and placed it in his front breast pocket.  Then the frog said, “What are you nuts?  Didn’t you hear what I said?  I said kiss me and I will be your beautiful bride.”  He opened his pocket, looked at the frog and said, “Nah, at my age I’d rather have a talking frog.”

This story reveals a truth that can transform you – life is all about perspective – it is in how you look at things.

Faith in God’s Timing

But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord, one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years are like one day. The Lord is not slow about his promise as some think of slowness but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance.2 Peter 3:8-9

An economist read this passage and was quite amazed by it and talked to God about it. “Lord, is it true that a thousand years for us is just like one minute to you?”

The Lord said, “Yes.”

The economist said, “Well then, a million dollars to us must be like one penny to you.”

The Lord said, “Well, yes.”

The economist said, “Well, Lord, will you give me one of those pennies?”

The Lord said, “All right, I will. Wait here a minute.”

Commenting on this story a preacher said, “Often we want God’s resources, but we don’t want his timing. We want the penny but not the minute. We want his hand, but we don’t want his calendar. We forget his work in us while we wait, which is as important as what it is you’re waiting for. Waiting means I must trust that God knows what he’s doing” (http://www.northwaychurch.net/waiting-million-dollars/).

So if you have prayed and prayed and waited and waited on God and feel impatient, I want you to consider something: Could it be that God is trying to teach you something? Could it be that God is trying to prepare you for something? It is in the present that God prepares us for our future.

God Will Give You What You Need

The late Corrie ten Boom told the story of when she went to her father as a child and said: “Papa, I don’t think I have the faith to handle real trouble. I don’t know what I’d do if you should die. I don’t think I have the faith that some people have to face trouble.”

Corrie’s father looked at her tenderly and said, “Corrie, dear, when your father says he will send you to the store tomorrow, does he give the money to you today? No, he gives it to you when you are ready to go to the store. And if you are going on a train trip and need money for a ticket, does your father give you the money when we decide you may take the trip? No. He gives it to you when you are at the depot, all ready to buy your ticket. Corrie, God treats us the same way. He doesn’t give you the faith until you need it. When you do need it, he will certainly give it to you.”

Don’t Give Up

The only survivor of a shipwreck was washed up on a small, uninhibited island. He prayed feverishly for God to rescue him, and every day he scanned the horizon for help, but none seemed forthcoming. Exhausted, he eventually managed to build a little hut out of driftwood to protect him from the elements, and to store his few possessions. But then one day, after scavenging for food, he arrived home to find his little hut in flames, the smoke rolling up to the sky.  The worst had happened; everything was lost. He was stunned with grief and anger. “God, how could you do this to me!” he cried.

Early the next day, however, he was awakened by the sound of a ship that was approaching the island. It had come to rescue him. “How did you know I was here?” asked the weary man of his rescuers. “We saw your smoke signal,” they replied.

Reflecting on this story Amy Anderson writes, “It is so easy to get caught up in the moment when things are going wrong – to get into the mindset of believing that all is lost – when in reality it is just God sending up a smoke signal for something better to come into your life.”

If things seem to be falling apart and you are getting impatient and frustrated, get out your binoculars and start watching for God’s ship that’s about to come into your life.

Remember God’s delays do not mean denials, faith in God includes faith in his timing, and when things seem to be falling apart they just might be falling into place.

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