February Sermon Illustrations

February 14, 2010

The story is told by the Persians of the great Shah Abbas, who reigned magnificently in Persia, but loved to mingle with the people in disguise. Once, dressed as a poor man, he descended the long flight of stairs, dark and damp, to the tiny cellar where the fireman, seated on ashes, was tending the furnace.

The king sat down beside him and began to talk. At meal time the fireman produced some coarse, black bread and a jug of water and they ate and drank. The Shah went away, but returned again and again, for his heart was filled with sympathy for the lonely man. He gave him sweet counsel, and the poor man opened his whole heart and loved this friend, so kind, so wise, and yet poor like himself.

At last the emperor thought, will tell him who I am, and see what gift he will ask.' So he said, 'You think me poor, but I am Shah Abbas your emperor.' He expected a petition for some great thing, but the man sat silent, gazing on him with love and wonder. Then the king said, 'Haven't you understood? I can make you rich and noble, can give you a city, can appoint you as a great ruler. Have you nothing to ask?'

The man replied gently, 'Yes, my lord, I understood. But what is this you have done, to leave your palace and glory, to sit with me in this dark place, to partake of my coarse fare, to care whether my heart is glad or sorry? Even you can give nothing more precious. On others you may bestow rich presents, but to me you have given yourself; it only remains to ask that you never withdraw this gift of your friendship.'

(Mark 10. 45; Gal. 2. 20; Eph. 5. 2, 25)

Subjects: Love, Love for Others, Sacrifice

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