Burdens Sermon Illustrations

Burdens Sermon Illustrations

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The "Hardship" of Our Cross

If a person with a deadly disease were told that he could go to a hospital, and there come under the treatment of the greatest physician in the world, who had never lost a patient suffering from that disease; that all the expenses would be paid, and the treatment would be without personal suffering or risk; and he could count on being discharged with a complete and permanent cure, would such a patient say that this offer, and this experience, if he went through it, was a great hardship? Or would he look back on that hospital experience with unspeakable gratitude as the most blessed thing in his life? That is a faint and inadequate suggestion of what the cross is to the Christian.—Sunday School Times.

A Changed Torrent

In the Canton of Bern, in the Swiss Oberland, a mountain stream rushes in a torrent toward the valley, as if it would carry destruction to the villages below; but, leaping from the sheer precipice of nearly nine hundred feet, it is caught in the clutch of the winds, and sifted down in fine, soft spray whose benignant showering covers the fields with perpetual green. So sorrow comes, a dashing torrent, threatening to destroy us; but by the breath of God's Spirit it is changed as it falls, and pours its soft, gentle showers upon our hearts, bedewing our withering graces, and leaving rich blessings upon our whole life.—God's Revivalist.

Writing on a saying of Socrates—that if all the misfortunes of mankind were cast into a public stock and equally distributed among the whole species, those who now think themselves the most unhappy would prefer the share they already possess before that which would fall to them by such a division—Addison relates a dream he once had.

In his dream he heard a proclamation by Jupiter that every mortal should bring his griefs and calamities and throw them together in a heap. Into the central plain marched the whole army of mankind, led by an airy figure named Fancy. Each one laid down his burden of real or imagined woe. Slowly the heap of discarded burdens grew until it reached the heavens.

Then Jove issued a second proclamation, to the effect that each was now at liberty to exchange his affliction and return to his habitat with any other burden he might choose. Fancy stood about and recommended to each one his particular packet. Eagerly the deluded mortals rushed into the most foolish and absurd bargains. But when all had selected their new burdens the whole plain was filled with lamentation and murmuring, for their last state was worse than their first.

Taking pity on them, Jove ordered them to lay down their burdens a second time so that each might resume his own. With that, the phantom Fancy was commanded to disappear; and a new figure, the goddess Patience, stood by the mountain of misery, which straightway sank to such a degree that it did not seem a third the size it was before. Each man then resumed his old burden, well pleased that the burden to fall to his lot had not been left to his own choice. Men have their own burdens, and their own burdens are the ones best suited to them.

What a procession it is, if we could only have eyes to see it, this long parade of those who bear burdens! There are burdens visible, and some—ofttimes the heavier—invisible. There are burdens physical—the burden of failing strength, or chronic illness, or other "thorns in the flesh." There are burdens, too, of lost happiness, of baffled ambition, of disappointment; burdens of anxiety and care; burdens of temptation; and the heavy burden of sin. Tramp! Tramp! Tramp! The army of the burden bearers marches by! During the day the streets of our city are thronged with people, but late at night the crowds have departed. The army of the marchers has passed by, and the sound of their feet is no longer heard. The streets of the city are left to the policemen and the watchmen, the night reveler and the homeless. But on the highway of life the night is no different from the day; and at midnight, as well as at noon, we can hear the tramp, tramp, tramp of the army of the burden bearers.

When Lincoln was talking with a friend during the Civil War, he told him how often he was driven to his knees—because there was nowhere else to go. The time comes when we have none but God to whom we can go. We are driven to our knees because we have nowhere else to go. But always he is there, inviting us to cast our burden upon him.

Our Eyes Upon Thee

"When my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I" (Ps. 61:2).

The end of self is the beginning of God. "When the tale of bricks is doubled, then comes Moses." That is the old Hebrew way of putting it. "Man's extremity is God's opportunity." That is the proverbial expression of it. "When my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the Rock that is higher than I." That is David's way of expressing it. "We have no might against this company, neither know we what to do." No might, no light — "but our eyes are upon Thee," that was Jehoshaphat's experience of it. "Mine eyes fail with looking upward: O Lord, I am oppressed; undertake for me."

"When I had great troubles I always went to God and was wondrously carried through; but my little trials I used to try to manage myself, and often most signally failed." So Miss Havergal has expressed the experience of many a Christian. How often we ask God to help, and then begin to count up the human probabilities! God's very blessings become a hindrance to us if we look from Him to them.—Selected.

One of Devil's Bundles

"A Christian woman who had been living a very unhappy life, and was always overwhelmed with burdens and cares of the future, came downstairs one morning telling her family that she had had a beautiful dream, and that through it God had delivered her from all her fears and worries. She said she had seen a great crowd of people passing along a broad way, and weighed down by innumerable burdens they were carrying. To and fro in the crowd a lot of imps were passing, throwing these burdens all around, and getting the people to pick up and carry them. Among others, she was carrying several of these loads of lead, and was almost worn to death. Suddenly in the crowd she saw the face of the Lord coming toward her, and she eagerly beckoned for Him to come and help her carry her burden. He looked sternly at her and refused to touch it. He said, 'I have no strength for that. I have no grace for loads like this. That is not My burden you are bearing. It is one of the devil's bundles, and all you have to do is to drop it and you will have plenty of strength for the loads that I bid you carry.' "—Gospel Herald.

How Carry the Package?

The late Henry Moorhouse, a noble evangelist, was once in very "trying circumstances." His little daughter, who was paralyzed, was sitting in her chair as he entered the house with a package for his wife. Going up to her and kissing her, he said, "Where is mother?" "Mother is upstairs." "Well, I have a package for her." "Let me carry the package to Mother." "Why, Minnie, dear, how can you carry the package? You cannot carry yourself." With a smile on her face, Minnie said, "Oh, no, Papa; but you give me the package, and I will carry the package, and you will carry me." Taking her up in his arms, he carried her upstairs — little Minnie and the package, too. And then "the word of the Lord came" to him that this was just his position in the work in which he was engaged. He was carrying his burden, but was not God carrying him?—Christian Herald (London

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