Preaching Can Be Dangerous

Last weekend I was preaching on giving and I used the analogy of apples to represent the 10-10-80 concept. If you’ve never heard this before and don’t go to Central, the analogy represents that 10% of our income should go to God, 10% should go to savings, and then we try and live off of the 80% or less. To illustrate this, I had 10 apples on a stand. Since the topic was generosity, I decided to add a little twist in the analogy. I said that I was feeling generous and that I wanted to share some of my apples with the audience. Now you must understand, these were Granny Smith green apples that we had special ordered from another state. They were amazing. So this was quite a gift. A guy raised his hand about 9 rows back. I then proceeded to under-hand lob one of the apples to him from the stage. But I slightly misjudged the distance. Instead of my intended recipient my apple was headed toward the face of the guy in front of him. This normally wouldn’t be a problem, except as I watched the apple fly through the air (which turned into slow-motion like nothing I’ve ever seen before) I realized that this guy wasn’t moving. His hands weren’t getting ready to catch anything and instead he stoicly sat still with his arms folded. And so I watched…and I felt something inside of me panick. What would happen if I knocked a guy out in church? Luckily for me, his wife leaned over at the last second and caught the apple right in front of his face. If you think I’m exagerrating how close it was, her hands actually hit him in the face. Disaster avoided. I mentioned this story the next night when I was repeating the illustration in Gilbert. Afterward, someone came up to me and had something insightful to say. She told me that the guy that I was referring to was a first time guest, and he was sleeping when it happened! (I couldn’t see his eyes from the stage, but this makes sense with his body language). When his wife’s hands hit him in the face he thought that she was slapping him to wake him up. He then awoke to see myself and everyone around him staring right at him. Apparently he thought that I had publicly called him out and that we were making an example of him. How sad, or funny depending on how you look at it. I might have to use this story in my sermon on “rest” in a few weeks.

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Jeremy Jernigan

Speaker | Author | Founder of Communion Wine Co.