Mark 10: 17-30

Illustrated New Resources

  • Christianity Unreconciled with Wealth

    by Whitney Wilkinson Arreche
    Long before the Osteens and the Robertsons and the Waltons of this world, there was another wealth-devoted Christian, a Tuscan Franciscan friar and mathematician named Luca Pacioli. This Christian made possible an institutionalized wealth shrouded in Christian language and scripture. He made possible the renaissance of early capitalist commerce for the profit of European Christianity. He followed a very different sort of Jesus from the Jesus we encounter in Mark. Pacioli’s Jesus baptizes wealth as virtue, and names it God’s will for Christians. When in 1492 Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue for the conquest of Brown people and their lands, this friar was writing a work that would be used to theologically legitimate and profit from that conquest...
  • Proper 24B (2021)

    by David Brooks
    A very funny comedy routine is George Carlin’s classic “Stuff.” While Mr. Carlin was not everyone’s cup of tea, he cuts like a well-skilled surgeon as he examines why we feel we need “so much stuff.” “Be honest!” he says: “your house is just a place to store your stuff; if you didn’t have all that stuff, you wouldn’t need a house! A house is just a pile of stuff with a cover on top.” Carlin’s routine could be summarized as: sometimes we realize we’ve got too much stuff, so we move to get more space—but if we’ve got too much space…we know we need more stuff!...
  • Giving Up the Yankees

    by Jim Chern
    Tuesday night my good friend from college, Fred, at 8:17 PM sent me this text: Are you watching? I happened to be in the middle of an event with our students and laughed when I saw the text come through thinking how there are certain people, certain situations that they literally can drop three words like that with zero context – that countless other people would have seen and been clueless thinking “what’s this about? Even though Fred has moved out of the state, and our texting back and forth is maybe once every couple of months and it was such a random, minimal message, I knew exactly what he was asking about – he wanted to know if I was watching the wildcard baseball game that was going on between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox...
  • Can You Really Buy Anything?

    by Grace Heimerdinger-Baake
    A 2010 study by psychologist Daniel Kahneman and Angus Deaton revealed that money did have an impact on how people evaluate their lives — people with more money feel better about their lives. The study showed when individuals reached an annual salary of $75,000, more money didn’t equate to more happiness...

Other New Resources

Recommended Resources

{Based on requests from several members (although I am reluctant to do so since my favorites may not be those of others), I am listing here some of my own favorite resources. FWIW!!]
  • Proper 23B

    by Bill Loader
    always good insights!
  • At Least He Was Honest: The Rich, Young Ruler

    by Daniel Clendenin
    ("Oseola McCarty of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, was one of those rare individuals who subverted social expectations and disciplined her desires. After dropping out of school in the sixth grade, for the next 78 years she washed and ironed the dirty laundry of white people. She never left the home where she was raised, she never married, never had any children, and never drove..." and other illustrations)
  • *The Rich Young Man

    by Jerry Fuller, OMI
    (includes several illustrations - recommended!)
  • Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

    by Sil Galvan
    A shepherd's wife wrote to a newspaper how moving from the country to the city had changed her children. She wrote that they had grown up in the loneliness of the country where life was simple and unsophisticated. Once her husband took a position in the city, the children changed for the worse. She concluded her letter by asking: "Which is preferable for a child's upbringing: a lack of worldly possessions, but with better manners and a simple and sincere way of life; or having worldly possessions along with a knowledge of the price of everything, but knowing the true value of nothing?"
  • Year of Faith (Week 1)

    by Sil Galvan
    As a young child, I can honestly say I did not want for anything. My life really was perfect. And, as was typical for Catholic families in Southern California, God was a big part of my life. My mother taught us that God was everywhere. Though we may not have voiced it as we ran wild along the lake shores and through the forests learning about our world, we were aware of who was responsible for all of our blessings.
  • *Eye of a Needle

    by Sil Galvan
    ("While I was preparing this homily, I thought of the words to a song I've known for many years about a man who lives in a 'fleeting house' and who is approached by a Hobo. The Hobo refuses to enter the house as it is and walks away...")
  • Sticker Shock for the Soul

    by Wiley Stephens
    ("An American tourist in Jerusalem met up with a monk. The monk offered to show him around the monastery of which he was a part. On their tour they came to the monk's room; the tourist noticed no TV or radio, only one change of clothes, a towel and a blanket. He asked, 'How do you live so simply?'..." and several other quotes and illustrations)
  • Exegetical Notes (Mark 10:17-31 )

    by Brian Stoffregen
    (excellent exegesis)
  • *Illustrations, Quotes and Lectionary Reflections (Ordinary 28B)

    by Various Authors
    ("More than forty years ago, I heard a man describe two paintings he said he had at his home. I have never forgotten them even though I never saw them. One was of the figure in Jesus' story of the rich man whose crops produced so abundantly that he decided to pull down his barns and build bigger ones, and he said to his soul, 'Soul, eat, drink, and have a great time, for tomorrow you die.'..." and several more)

Illustrated Resources from 2018 to 2020

[If you have any questions about navigating through the site (and for some helpful tips even if you do!), please check out our video guide. Just copy this link (https://www.loom.com/share/afe3352a69f44bff814af8b695701c5e) and paste it into your favorite browser.]
  • The Rich, Young Ruler

    Art and Theology by Victoria Jones
    SONG: “Iesū Me Ke Kanaka Waiwai” (Jesus and the Rich Young Man) | Words and music attributed to John Kamealoha Almeida, 1915 | Performed by Mark Yamanaka, with Sean Naleimaile, 2018
  • Why Do We Run from Love?

    by Terrance Klein
    It has fallen from the popular, but, 100 years ago, Francis Thompson’s “The Hound of Heaven” was a much-beloved poem, praised by the likes of G. K. Chesterton and J. R. R. Tolkien. The title is meant to catch us up. Heaven has a hound? Yet the poem suggests that just as the hound relentlessly pursues the fleeing hare until running it down, so God ever seeks your soul in all the events of your day, in all the days of your life. It begins: I fled Him, down the nights and down the days; I fled Him, down the arches of the years; I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways Of my own mind; and in the midst of tears I hid from Him, and under running laughter. Today, the vocabulary, structure and references are a bit daunting for many would-be readers, but not so the notion that some person, some invisible yet relentless presence, is always there in our lives—just beyond our sight but only because we will not turn, look and acknowledge...
  • What’s The “One Thing” For You?

    by Nicholas Lang
    Some time ago, I read a story about a woman who experienced a dramatic life transformation well after midlife. She ended up changing some of her social habits and even some of her friends. “God’s grace is free,” she was fond of saying, “but it can also be very expensive.” She wasn’t a man, and she wasn’t rich, but I think she got the message of this morning’s Gospel. As Mark Twain once said, “It’s not what I don’t understand in the Bible that bothers me; it’s what I understand too well.”
  • Finding Our Way

    by Kate Matthews
    In Franco Zeffirelli's beautiful film, "Brother Sun, Sister Moon," a turning point in the story comes when Francis of Assisi, born and raised in a wealthy and privileged (and religiously observant) family, stands before the entire town, including the local bishop and his parents, strips off his clothes, and walks off into the mountains to live among the poor as a beggar. Francis is responding to a call that has troubled him since he returned, ill with fever, from the adventure of fighting in a war between petty nobles. His life before the war no longer makes sense, and he feels his soul being pulled toward a different way of living, a radical giving up of everything that would have been easily his, a turning away from the comfortable path that has been laid out before him. Francis was not just ill; his heart was hungry and thirsty and lost. His conversion experience came in the midst of suffering and uncertainty...
  • Teasing Out a Legend

    by Jim McCrea
    The Rev. Pamela Tinnin was something of a tomboy when she was growing up, so she writes, “The year I was seven, my favorite birthday present was a horned lizard my sister gave me, known as a ‘horny toad’ to us. I kept him in a shoebox and caught flies and grasshoppers for his supper. I discovered that he would lay very still if I stroked his belly and he would actually ride around clinging to my sweater, a feat that greatly impressed the boys and made the other girls squeal and cover their eyes. “Then one warm afternoon I took the shoebox out to the garden and set the lizard free. I opened the box and tipped it up. The lizard just sat there. I actually had to push it out of the box onto the dirt under a tomato plant. It looked around, took one step, then another, then scurried away and was gone. “Watching the lizard scurry from one end of the shoebox to the other, again and again, I had realized that wild things aren’t meant to live their lives in a box. They aren’t meant to be tamed, domesticated, held captive for our pleasure, amusement, and convenience. They aren’t meant to be taken out of their natural world and put somewhere safe and secure and hand-fed a few tattered flies.”...
  • Sermon Notes (Proper 23B)(2018)

    by Paul Nuechterlein
    The Man in the High Castle is a TV series on Amazon Prime, an historical Sci-Fi drama. It takes place primarily in 1962 United States. But the Sci-Fi is that it is in an alternative world, where the Nazis developed the atom bomb first and won the war. Seventeen years later they have kept an uneasy alliance with the Japanese but are brewing to make a move on them. The United States has been divided: the Japanese have the West Coast, the Rocky Mountains are a Neutral Zone, and everything east of the Rockies is controlled by the Nazis. Most white people in the Nazi held part of the U.S. have simply become Nazis, though there is still a resistance. It is more difficult on the West Coast, where the Japanese see themselves as superior and so the relationship to Americans is more like slavemasters. But the entire series dramatizes the heart of tribalism: believing that our tribe is somehow better than yours. We are better than Them, so it justifies violence against Them to keep them in line and make them bend to our superior way...
  • Threading the Needle

    by David Russell
    Some of you will remember the TV show The Twilight Zone. One episode was titled “A Nice Place to Visit.” It told the story of a thief named Rocky Valentine, who is shot by the police during a robbery. When Mr. Valentine wakes up, he finds himself in a strange place where he has everything he ever wanted. He is in a beautiful penthouse filled with perfectly-fitting, expensive clothes. The dresser drawers are filled with more cash than Mr. Valentine has ever seen. He’s surrounded by beautiful women. When he gambles, he wins…every single time. Everything is so perfect that he concludes that he’s died and gone to heaven. But within a month Mr. Valentine is bored out of his mind. He realizes that having everything he ever wanted is not what he thought it would be. It’s not paradise; it’s more like torture. He realizes that all of these things have no real value. At the very end of the episode Mr. Valentine cries out to a man he assumes is the “angel” in charge of this strange place, saying, “I can’t stand this! I don’t belong here in heaven. I belong in the other place. Please send me to the other place!” To which the “angel” replies, “Mr. Valentine, this is the other place.” It’s a commonly held belief that the “stuff” of life is what will make us feel fully alive. This is nothing new. And it is addressed in our scripture today...
  • Why I Am Recommitting

    by Brenda Seat
    Robert Greenleaf in The Servant as Leader, which Seekers has adopted as a model for how leadership should work in Seekers, says this: “The difference between the leader-first and the servant-first is the care taken by the servant-first to make sure that other people’s highest priority needs are being served. The best test, and difficult to administer, is: do those served grow as persons; do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants?” Or as Jesus put it more succinctly in our lesson from Mark, “But many who are first will be last and the last will be first.”...
  • Movies/Scenes Representing Greed

    Compiled by Jenee Woodard

Illustrated Resources from 2015 to 2017

  • If I Were Rich...

    by Sylvia Alloway
    The Monaco Yacht Show features the Silver Fast – In case you don't know what to do with your money. Every September, yacht manufacturers sail their newest and best "super yachts" to Port Hercules in the principality of Monaco for the annual yacht show. Millionaires are not invited. To afford the craft displayed here one must be a billionaire several times over...
  • You May Have to Move Something!

    by Charles Hoffacker
    Consider, for example, George and Mary, a couple who live in another state. George goes to the refrigerator. He’s looking for a specific item he’s pretty sure is there. He doesn’t see it, and so calls out to Mary about the object of his search. Mary is also pretty sure that what George is looking for is in the refrigerator—somewhere. She calls back to him, “You may have to move something, George!” I believe God addresses us in this way, not when we look around in the refrigerator, but when we try to make sense of our lives. That’s what I hear Jesus tell the man who asks him about inheriting eternal life. “You may have to move something, George!”...
  • Ordinary 28B (2015)

    by Charlie Irvin
    When I was a young man some dark days came upon me in a time of terrible loss. In great love and tenderness my mother, a woman who herself had known years of suffering, pulled out from her prayer book the following prayer. The prayer had helped her many times throughout her life. It was titled: The Prayer of an Unknown Confederate Soldier. It has sustained me many times, particularly when I have questioned my own commitment into the care of God. Perhaps it will help you, too...
  • Small Worlds

    by Terrance Klein
    Queen Victoria ascended to the throne at the age of eighteen. The world was handed to her on the proverbial silver platter, but ruling an empire, or running a corporation, isn't the same thing as allowing one's world to expand. A good example of a small soul needing to grow came in the first years of Victoria's reign. Lady Flora Hastings was a lady-in-waiting for the young queen. Victoria didn't like the Hastings family...
  • The Center of Your Life

    by Jim McCrea
    This past week I read an amazing story about a little-known aspect of an infamous incident that took place at the 1968 Summer Olympic games in Mexico City. Those of us who are of a certain age will remember the controversy that erupted when two American athletes — Tommie Smith and John Carlos, who won the Gold and Bronze medals in the 200 meter race — chose to stand on the medal platform barefoot and give a single-fisted Black Power salute while the Star-Spangled Banner played.
  • Without God or Jesus, A Single Figure (Mark & Job)

    Art and Faith by Lynn Miller
    "The gospel reading and the reading from Hebrew scripture for Proper 23B leave us with a single figure. One because he is unable to follow. One who cannot seem to find. Above are two versions of the same composition titled For He Had Great Possessions by George Frederic Watts...
  • The Things They Carried

    by James Mollison
    What the Syrian refugees bring on their journey to Europe.
  • How 'Bout Some Quarters?

    by Larry Patten
    Years ago, one of my first visits as a hospice chaplain took me to a home where a family lived. The family hadn't always been under the same roof, but when the grandmother was diagnosed with cancer, she'd moved into the unfixed fixer-upper house with its unkempt front and back yards. Who has time to mow a lawn when working multiple jobs to keep food on the table for multiple generations?...
  • Nightmares of the Rich

    by Timothy Ross
    Antony was one of the first desert hermits of the Church, who lived around 250-350CE. He was raised in Egypt with wealthy, believing parents. They died when Antony was just a teenager, leaving Antony and his sister all their possessions. Athanasius tells the story: 'Now it was not six months after the death of his parents, and going according to custom into the Lord's House, he communed with himself and reflected as he walked how the Apostles left all and followed the Savior...
  • Addition by Subtraction

    by David Russell
    One episode of The Twilight Zone was titled 'A Nice Place to Visit'. It told the story of a thief named Rocky Valentine, who is shot by the police during a robbery. When Mr. Valentine wakes up, he finds himself in a strange place where he has everything he ever wanted. He is in a beautiful penthouse filled with perfectly-fitting, expensive clothes. The dresser drawers are filled with more cash than Mr. Valentine has ever seen. He's surrounded by beautiful women who can't resist him. Everything is so perfect that he concludes that he's died and gone to heaven...
  • The Deal of a Lifetime

    Sermon Starter by Leonard Sweet
    Many of you pride yourself on being good business people. Suppose someone reputable made you the following offer: You go into business with me. It will be expensive, but I guarantee it will be worth it. You dig up whatever cash you can find. Take out an equity loan on your house, cash in the value of your life insurance policy, pay the penalty, and take the money out of your IRA account however you can come up with cash, do it...
  • The Joy of Letting Go

    by Keith Wagner
    Dr. James Dobson relates a story of an elderly woman named Stella Thornhope who was struggling with her first Christmas alone. Her husband had died just a few months prior through a slow developing cancer. Now, several days before Christmas, she was almost snowed in by a brutal weather system. She felt terribly alone, so much so she decided she was not going to decorate for Christmas. Late that afternoon the doorbell rang, and there was a delivery boy with a box..." and other illustrations

Illustrated Resources from 2009 to 2014

  • You Can't Not Know What You Know

    by Jim Chern
    ["Have you ever had the experience where you see something and want to find out how it's done, but after you do, you're kind of disappointed; because you 'can't not know what you know?' I know how atrocious that sentence sounds (and can't not know that I know that) - but just think about it:.."]
  • Proper 23B (2012)

    by Delmer Chilton
    "Some years ago I found myself at a revival meeting in a small rural church. One of the young women from my Lutheran youth group had been asked to sing a solo so I went to support her. The preacher was a traveling evangelist and he put on quite an exhibition; shouting and hollering and stomping his feet and breaking into song and denouncing sins, some of which I had never heard of...."
  • Go, Sell, Give, Come, Follow

    by Vince Gerhardy
    ("There was a miserly man who made good money all of his life but hoarded it. He wouldn't spend a cent of it. He kept his wife to a strict budget so she could only buy the barest of essentials at the supermarket and just enough to pay for the electricity and council rates..." and another humorous illustration)
  • Proper 23B (2009)

    by Scott Hoezee
    ("Paul Scott Wilson once re-imagined the rich young man this way: 'In my mind I see a rich young youth pastor who has heard that Jesus is preaching at a small town, and he speeds over to try to catch Jesus before he leaves. The young man is ahead of his time in that he drives a black BMW with tinted windows....")
  • What Must I Do?

    by Kate Huey
    (includes several quotes)
  • Choices

    by Janet Hunt
    ("I am remembering today a conversation I had with my dad a long time ago. I was probably in college --- home working for the summer. We were out in the garden late on a summer afternoon where he could have been leaning on a pitchfork digging up potatoes or loading tomatoes or squash or cucumbers into buckets to be enjoyed an given away. And he was talking about his life....")
  • When Your Hump Gets Stuck in Your Eye

    by Beth Johnston
    Kevin O'Leary is one of the dragons on the tv show, Dragon's Den. That is the show where people with a new and innovative product such as "solid honey drops" or a new and innovative design for baby diapers go to pitch their products in order to gain investment dollars to either get their product to the market stage or to expand an already established market...
  • Unmeasured Mayhem

    by Terrance Klein
    ("It is a challenge to find quotes from the hit television comedy It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia that are suitable to repeat in church. The show's characters are self-centered ne'r-do-wells. Or, as Charlie puts it, 'I am who I am,' to which Mac responds, 'Yeah, let's pretend you aren't who you are and just try to attract a woman.'...")
  • *Sing a New Song of Daring

    by Paul Larsen
    ("CBS News carried a story about a Phoenix cab driver named Tom Chappell who knows the joy of giving and dares to give generously. Tom got called to the home of Rita Van Loenen. Tom said, I was running about 30 minutes late. When I finally did pick her up she was not a happy camper. Rita was so frustrated with him that she didn't tip him...." and other illustrations)
  • *Eternal Life

    by Anne Le Bas
    ("One of my favourite children's stories is Rudyard Kipling's Just-So Story, the Sing Song of Old Man Kangaroo. The kangaroo, says the story, was once a very ordinary looking creature, with short legs, and a thin tail, like a rat...")
  • Strange New World

    by Jim McCoy
    ("Early in his pastorate, Karl Barth watched in horror as German culture made a house-of-cards plunge into the orgy of destruction of World War I. Far from offering prophetic wisdom or resistance, his mentors and colleagues were merely cheerful chaplains sitting in their privileged seats on the roller coaster to destruction...")
  • Giving as Celebration

    by Jim McCrea
    Novelist Barbara Kingsolver was wrestling with that thought after she’d heard that that the wealth of an average American is equivalent to the wealth of about 30 people from India. This is what she wrote about that: “I think a lot about those thirty citizens of India who, it’s said, could live on the average American’s stuff. I wonder if I could build a life of contentment on their material lot, and then I look around my house and wonder what they’d make of mine. My closet would clothe more than half of them, and my books — good Lord — could open a library branch in New Delhi. Our family’s musical instruments would outfit an entire (if very weird) village band, featuring electric guitars, violin, eclectic percussion section, and a really dusty clarinet. We have more stuff than we need.... I was born to that caste, but I can aspire to waste not and want less.”
  • He Who Dies With The Most Toys, Dies

    by Rick Miles
    Officials in a Midwestern city had discovered a hospital where the emergency firefighting equipment had never been connected. For 35 years it had been trusted in for the safety of the patients and medical staff in case of emergency. Yet, it had never been hooked up to the city’s water main. The connection line that led from the building extended four feet underground and ended there. Although the costly equipment with its polished valves and well-placed outlets appeared to be adequate, it lacked the most important thing, a source; the water source. The hospital had trusted in an outward appearance of security, but it could have cost them their lives. To trust your life to wealth may provide an outward appearance of security, but that too is to fail to connect with the source; the life source...
  • Wishing to Be Great

    by Nathan Nettleton
    Albus Dumbledore is the Headmaster of Hogwarts. One of the distinctive features of Dumbledore is that he doesn’t seem to feel any need to lord it over anybody. There is no discernible aggression or macho posturing. He doesn’t show any need to prove his leadership. He doesn’t demand that it be recognised. There is a very real humility without any of the pretentious false humility that causes many of us to downplay our gifts. Dumbledore can acknowledge that he has a great intellect and unusually great powers, but he does so simply as a statement of fact with no demand that anybody therefore bow down to him or put his name up in lights. And this calm and unpretentious self-assurance gives him enormous natural authority. Despite having great and even spectacular powers, he never looks for opportunities to display them. Instead, he is devoted to bringing out the best in others. His enemies suggest that his greatest weakness is his capacity and willingness to always believe the best of others. It is indeed a “weakness” that costs him dearly at times, but it is the essential nature of his service too...
  • A Life of Gratitude

    by Fran Ota
    ("Margaret Visser's most recent book The Gift of Thanks, addresses a social ritual we take for granted. How many times did your mother tell you to say 'Please' and 'Thank you'? It is part of our ritual of politeness, and we get irritated at people who don't say 'thank you'..." and other quotes)
  • Possessed

    by Larry Patten
    ("What rattles me is when I recognize that which separates me from God: my possessions, every single one my choice, possess me. Though I'm always stumbling around for an easy answer, there isn't one. Never will be...")
  • Solidarity with the Poor

    by Ron Rolheiser, OMI
    ("A couple of years ago, I witnessed an exchange between two of my colleagues, both priests. They had been having a rather spirited discussion, over drinks, and personalities and values were clashing. At one point, the younger one asked the older one this question: 'Do you find your work meaningful?'...")
  • *There's a Bomb on the Bus!

    by Travis Shafer
    ("A young seminary student was working on one of his sermons and getting help from his advisor. The advisor looked over the sermon as the young man waited somewhat patiently for feedback. The advisor looked at the young man and said that his sermon was great, except that the sermon title was horrible. The title was so bad that the young man was told the rest of the sermon didn't matter...")
  • *L4G: Live for God

    Sermon Starter by Leonard Sweet
    ("Halloween candy is consumed according to two very different philosophies. There are the 'hogs' and there are the 'hoarders'. The 'hogs' dive right into the bowl, scarf down all their favorites the first night, eat until queasy, and then finish it up during lunchtime at school the next day. The 'hoarders' not only stretch out the life-span of their goodies until Thanksgiving...")
  • *When Too Much Can Be Too Little

    Sermon Starter by Leonard Sweet
    ("Our parents complained that 'the world is going to hell in a hand basket'. It's closer to the truth to say that 'the world is going to hell in a shopping cart'. Your soul, not to mention your budget, is in mortal danger as you approach the grocery store checkout lane...")
  • What's Holding You Back?

    by Keith Wagner
    ("One time a bus driver became annoyed with what he saw in an open field at the end of his run. It was littered with trash. It had become the unofficial dump in the community. The bus driver grew tired of seeing the mess every day and since he had a seven minute layover, he decided to spend a few minutes picking up bottles and cans..." and other illustrations)
  • The Peril and the Promise of Being Met by Jesus

    by William Willimon
    ("The story is told that Clarence Jordan, that great Southern, social prophet, visited an integrated church in the Deep South. Jordan was surprised to find a relatively large church so thoroughly integrated, not only black and white but also rich and poor; and this was in the early sixties, too. Jordan asked the old country preacher, 'How did you get the church this way?'...")

Illustrated Resources (and Other Resources of Merit) from the Archives

  • The Opposite of Rich

    by Mickey Anders
    ("Flip Wilson had a weekly TV comedy show back in the 70s, and one of his favorite characters to portray was Brother Leroy. In one skit, Brother Leroy was leading services one Sunday morning. It wasn't going very well. People weren't very responsive..." and other illustrations)
  • The Rich Young Ruler

    by Mickey Anders
    ("In February of 1988, Bud Post sat in the front bedroom of his $250-a-month furnished apartment waiting for his luck to change. That night was the weekly drawing for the Super 7 game of the Pennsylvania Lottery. Earlier that day he'd pawned his gold ring to buy 40 tickets, his hope of escape from his meager income from Social Security disability...")
  • Strange Teachings

    by Ross Bartlett
    ("A traveler drove around the corner on a mountain road and came upon the scene of a horrific accident. Apparently another driver had lost control of the vehicle and had been thrown clear before the car hurtled over the cliff. Far below in the canyon the car was burning fiercely...")
  • Hard Questions

    by Peter Blackburn
    ("A US railroad magnate was dying. Addressing his son who stood by his bedside, the dying man said, 'Son, take hold of my hand,' which he did. Then the man said, 'My son you are holding the hand of the man who has made the greatest failure of any man that ever lived.'...")
  • Power, Pleasure and Wealth

    by Patrick Brennan
    A doctor friend of mine was telling me recently that he has become concerned about a peer of his, another doctor. This other doctor's number of patients has risen exponentially. But as patients have increased in number, the doctor's bedside manner, and style of inter-acting with patients have deteriorated...
  • Life's Second Question

    by John Buchanan
    ("After his first by-pass surgery and the decision to retire from playing tennis in 1979, Arthur Ashe experienced a sense of uneasiness and restlessness. He reflected: 'How could I be dissatisfied, even subtly, with my life to that point? I had lived a fantasy of a life. But I was dissatisfied...")
  • Proper 23B (2006)

    from the Center for Excellence in Preaching
    "It’s kind of like a pair of binoculars: the lens of God’s grace is supposed to draw everything closer to us and in sharper focus. When you begin by viewing your life through grace, that’s what happens, too: God makes his love and presence large and plain and unmistakable. But you know what happens when you look through the wrong end of the binoculars..."
  • *Lovers Are Very Special People

    by John Christianson
    ("Let me tell you about Martin. Way back in the fourth century, Martin was a teenaged pagan soldier in the Roman army. Stationed in Gaul his heart went out to a poor under-clothed beggar shivering by the side of the road. Martin had nothing to give, so he took off his great woolen cloak, cut it in two with his sword and dropped half of it down to the beggar..." and another illustration)
  • Seek Good

    by Patricia de Jong
    ("My husband's father, Arthur, was an ordinary farmer on the plains of South Dakota for most of his life. He farmed about 200 acres and provided for his small family of four by tending the soil. He was not educated beyond the eighth grade, but he was the lay reader at his German Congregational Church for 14 years...")
  • The Monkey Trap

    by Ernest Munachi Ezeogu, CSSP
    ("African hunters have a clever way of trapping monkeys. They slice a coconut in two, hollow it out, and in one half of the shell cut a hole just big enough for a monkey's hand to pass through. Then they place an orange in the other coconut half before fastening together the two halves of the coconut shell. Finally, they secure the coconut to a tree with a rope, retreat into the bush, and wait...")
  • *Inheriting Life

    Narrative Sermon by Frank Fisher
  • Re-Launch Yourself

    by Michael Foss
    ("10, 9, 8 7, six... We have ignition. We have lift-off! And sometimes we have relaunch. So began the introduction to a series of interviews in the July 2000, issue of the magazine Fast Company. The interviews were on relaunch--whether you're talking about a brand, a company, or your own career..." and another illustration)
  • The Challenge of Plenty

    by Ken Gehrels
    Three soldiers trudged down a road in a strange country. they were on their way home from the wars. Besides being tired, they were hungry. In fact, they had eaten nothing for two days. 'How I would like a good dinner tonight,' said the first. 'And a bed to sleep in,' added the second. 'But that is impossible,' said the third...
  • Growing in the Grace of Giving

    by Ken Gehrels
    ("Swiss inventor George de Mestral loved to be outdoors. But while outdoors he couldn’t stand burrs. Dumb things. Burrs stuck to his wool hunting pants and his dog's fur, annoying to him because of the amount of time it took to remove the pesky things. Being an inventor he wondered why these burrs stuck...")
  • Humps and Big Hairy Feet

    by Vince Gerhardy
    ("Sometimes you hear of people doing the impossible. In 2003 an Indian man swallowed 200 earthworms each measuring at least 10 cm long in 30 seconds. This same man can put small live cobras into his mouth and passing them out through his nose...")
  • Ordinary 28B (2006)

    by Andrew Greeley
    "Once upon a time a married couple went off on a long vacation to Europe. Since their kids were away in college, there was no need to have someone take care of the house. So they told their cleaning person she didn’t have to come to the house until they returned..."
  • *Follow the Drinking Gourd

    by Donald Hoffman
    ("During the slavery days a hundred fifty years ago there was a dock builder who traveled down the Mississippi, contracting with the plantation owners to build a dock for each plantation with the help of the local slaves. But while they worked he would teach the slaves how to escape and use the underground railroad to go north to freedom..." and other illustrations)
  • *Through the Needle's Eye

    by Don Hoffman
    ("When we still had children at home, we used to watch TV cartoons all the time. Tom and Jerry, a cat and a mouse. Wiley Coyote and the Roadrunner. There was even a full-length feature movie that mixed real humans and cartoon characters, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?. Now there was one thing all these cartoon characters had in common: they seemed to be made of rubber...")
  • Just Looking

    by John Jewell
    "Have you ever go to a store to look around or get a few ideas? If you go to some department stores, you can plan on being ignored. But there are some stores where a clerk will very quickly find you and ask, 'May I help you?' And you reply, 'No thank you, just looking.'..."
  • When Your Hump Gets Caught in Your Eye

    by Beth Johnston
    Comedian Jack Benny, who it is said, hated to part with his money, tells about being 'held up' one evening. The robber stuck a gun in his ribs and said, 'Your money or your life'. After the impatient would be robber jabbed the gun deeper Benny said, 'Well, give me a minute, I'm thinking about it.'...
  • A Theological ABC: Greed

    by Fred Kane
    A while back the CEO of American Airlines convinced all of the company pilots, mechanics, flight attendants and baggage handlers to accept major pay cuts ranging from 15 to 23 percent to help the airline avoid bankruptcy...
  • Wanted: Followers

    by James Kegel
    ("There is a delightful story about a young man applying for admission to a prestigious college which admitted only 250 students per class. The boy's parents got a questionnaire to fill out, in which, among other questions was this one: "Is your son or daughter a leader or a follower?..." and other illustrations)
  • The Real Way to Personal Fulfillment

    by John Killinger
    ("Robert Bellah and his associates, the sociologists who wrote Habits of the Heart and The Good Society, two of the most distinguished books about American life in the last decade, say that the desire to get the most out of one's life, to be the best or achieve the highest, is a hallmark of our time..." and other good illustrations)
  • Remembrances of Clarence Jordan

    from Koinonia Partners
    ("It was January, 1969, before I left my job as a business executive. As I thought about being with Clarence for a few hours, I felt a lot of joy and more than a little apprehension. With La Guardia airport's snarl of traffic behind us, I plunged into conversation. 'You know, Clarence, I've been thinking a lot about the kind of discipleship you taught us last August, and I'm really troubled..." see also "the Swap")
  • *Camels and Needles Again

    by Anne Le Bas
    ("My daughter Ruth worked for a year in a Peruvian orphanage before university. It was a real eye opener – particularly for her, but also for the rest of us as we read her letters and emails. The orphanage had no hot water, few books or resources...")
  • The Discipline of Discipleship

    by David Leininger
    ("DISCIPLINE. Dirty word these days. DISCIPLESHIP. Not so dirty a word, but obviously related to the other. Discipline, discipleship, disciple...all come from the same Latin root which has to do with LEARNING. In fact, the Greek word which we translate in the English New Testament as 'disciple' is mathetes, a LEARNER...")
  • Does God Want You to Be Rich?

    by David Leininger
    ("When George Adams lost his job at an Ohio tile factory last October, the most practical thing he did, he thinks, was go to a new church, even though he had to move his wife and four preteen boys to Conroe, a suburb of Houston, to do it..." and other illustrations)
  • A Friend Indeed

    by David Leininger
    ("Last month on Public Television, an intriguing hour opened as we saw a patient in a doctor's office. She whines, 'I feel so awful, so bloated,' and the doctor tells her, 'I'm afraid you're suffering from...TA-DA...AFFLUENZA!'...")
  • Give It All

    by David Martyn
    ("This week, Google bought YouTube for 1.65 billion dollars. On hearing that news I felt like I must have been living in a cave or I was a luddite and didn’t know it. Although I have been using a computer since 1981 I had never heard of YouTube. I think it is because I am too old...")
  • Matthew and Luke Got It Wrong

    by John McCard
    ("The Beatles song All You Need is Love is one of the most enduring anthems of the '60s generation. Even if you are not a Beatles fan, you probably have heard it on the radio, in commercials, or even at the movies. Last time I heard it, I noticed for the first time the song really just has that one line -- 'All you need is love' -- sung over and over and over again...")
  • *Rubber People

    by Jim McCrea
    ("When I was about 16, I came across probably the most desperately-sad person I've ever met in my life. He was the older brother of a high school friend of mine and he had just returned from a tour of duty with the Army on the front lines of the Vietnam War...")
  • *Sewing Camels

    by Jim McCrea
    ("Jacob the Baker: Gentle Wisdom for a Complicated World by Noah ben-Shea has a scene in which an elderly woman approaches Jacob and says, 'I want to ask you something. I heard you talk about dying, and I am going to die soon. I have a great deal of money. If you are so smart, why not tell me how I can take it with me?...")
  • Why Do You Call Me Good?

    by Philip McLarty
    ("And so, is Jesus the Lord of your life, or is he your hero? How can you know for sure? What's the difference? I can think of four important distinctions. First, a hero draws attention to himself; the Lord focuses his attention on God...")
  • Proper 23B (2000)

    by Susanna Metz
    ("In the Philadelphia Museum of Art there's a striking painting by Russian Marc Chagall. As Chagall's often complexly allergorical or symbolic paintings go, it's very simple. It has a large white figure of a man, several smaller white figures of houses and a church, and two words in Russian on a black background...")
  • Through the Eye of a Needle

    Poetry by Stephen Mitchell
  • Maybe This Is Good News After All

    by Paul Nuechterlein
    While Linda Fuller was earning her Bachelor of Science degree at Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Alabama, her husband and a fellow attorney began a marketing firm. Their business expertise and drive made them millionaires while still in their twenties. But as the business prospered, the Fullers’ marriage suffered. This crisis prompted the Fullers to reevaluate their values and direction. Their”soul-searching” led to reconciliation with each other and to a renewal of their Christian commitment. Fuller and her husband then took a drastic step: they decided to sell all of their possessions, give the money to the poor and begin searching for a new focus for their lives. This search led them to Koinonia Farm, a Christian community located near Americus, Georgia, where people looked for practical ways to apply Christ’s teachings. With Koinonia founder Clarence Jordan and a few others, the Fullers initiated several partnership enterprises, including a ministry in housing. This housing ministry was based on several unique features, such as issuing no-profit, no-interest mortgages and requiring homeowners to invest their own labor (“sweat equity”) into building their homes and the homes of others...
  • *Ordinary 28B (2009)

    by Paul O'Reilly, SJ
    ("There used to be a tradition in Ireland that at a christening the godparents would give the newly baptized infant a little silver christening cup. But when my mother was asked to be godmother to my cousin Catherine, she didn't have the money to get it immediately. But eventually it was bought..." and another illustration)
  • *Proper 23B (2003)

    by Joseph Parrish
    ("Mother Teresa, in her book A Gift from God writes: 'We all long for heaven where [God] is, but we have it in our power to be in heaven with [God] right now, to be happy with [God] at this very moment, loving as [God] loves, helping as [God] helps, giving as [God] gives..." and other illustrations)
  • *Surrender to Win

    by Glenn Pease
    ("A psychiatrist in Puerto Rico read E. Stanley Jones's book Victory Through Surrender, and realized he needed to do just that. He gave His life to Christ, and it changed him completely. He began to give many hours of free counseling to alcoholics and drug addicts. He set up 12 rehabilitation centers in San Juan which took in 500 patients a day...")
  • Detachment and Freedom

    by Gerry Pierse, CSsR
    ("The French have a story about a millionaire in his palace who spent his days counting his gold. Beside the palace was a poor cobbler who spent his days singing as he repaired people's shoes. The joyful singing irritated the rich man. One day he decided to give some gold coins to the cobbler..." and other illustrations)
  • *Proper 23

    by Lyn Reith
    ("Our very small part of this kingdom is … why God brought you into this world, … why God watches over you night and day, … why God breathes spirit into your very soul, … why God puts love, fellowship, and success right across your path...")
  • The Only Way In

    by Barry Robinson
    ("John Shea once shared a story about the powerful instinct within us to possess things. 'It happened in Oklahoma City when I was a young man, fresh on the speakers' circuit. I had just finished my talk, and people were coming up to ask me questions or point out things I should have said. An old native American man - a Cherokee, I suppose - suddenly stood in front of me...")
  • Center and Circumference

    by Richard Rohr
    ("I would like to begin with a quote from the Irish poet William Butler Yeats. In The Second Coming, he says: 'Turning and turning in the widening gyre The falcon cannot hear the falconer; Things fall apart; the center cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world...")
  • *A Different Kind of Security

    by Paul Rooney
    ("There is a story about Mother Teresa visiting Australia some years ago. A young Franciscan was assigned to escort and to assist her while she was there. He felt highly honored and looked forward to learning all that he could from Mother Teresa. But he became very frustrated, because people constantly crowded around Mother Teresa...")
  • Answering the Call

    by Gary Roth
    ("I grew up in a little inner-city church, so there wasn't much of the suburban game of 'keeping up with the Joneses'. In fact, however, we had our own game - guys competed for the title of being considered the 'Biggest Cheapskate' in the church. The masters of the craft were Bill Ordelt and Bill Hurd, the president and treasurer of the church...")
  • A Healing Church

    by Martin Singley
    "I was reading an article about Mother Teresa a while ago. Didn’t she live a beautiful life of the kingdom of God? Well, I was interested in finding out more about Calcutta where Mother Teresa worked with the Sisters of Charity. It is a city of 12-million, you know, and the poverty and human squalor are just unimaginable..."
  • Outcomes

    by Martin Singley
    "Back in the Spring when we were cleaning out my mother’s apartment after her death, I found myself thinking, “How short life really is! Just yesterday, it seems, my mother was the pretty young girl growing up in the house on Beacon Street in Greenfield, Massachusetts..."
  • It's Not Always What You Think

    by Ozzie Smith, Jr.
    ("The story goes that there was some prospectors who had looked for gold and they had their donkey and the sun was setting and they saw a village up ahead, but prior to going to the village, they had wandered into a cave and noticed that there was a vein of what it seems they'd been looking for all of their life--a vein of gold...")
  • Like Threading a Needle With a Camel

    by Billy D. Strayhorn
    ("H. Jackson Brown, the author of Life's Little Instruction Book also wrote a book filled with wit and wisdom from kids. It's titled: When You Lick A Slug, Your Tongue Goes Numb. The title is what caught my eye. And it's filled with some hilarious bits of 'Kid Wisdom'..." and another illustration)
  • Show Me the Money

    by Billy D. Strayhorn
    ("How many of you have seen the movie Jerry Maguire with Tom Cruise? The memorable line from the movie was, 'Show Me The Money'. Even though there was lots of talk about 'the money' in the movie. The movie wasn't really about 'the money' was it? It was about heart and soul, honor and respect, love and commitment..." and other illustrations)
  • Then Who Can Be Saved?

    by Curtis Tilleraas
    ("One of my great pleasures as a father was in taking my son, every weekend for years, to basketball games. There was a boy on his team who wanted to be a great basketball player, but he hardly ever got to play. When he was sent into the game he played with a tremendous amount of desire, but every time he took and missed a shot, he would get furious at himself..." and other illustrations)
  • Entering the Gates of Heaven

    by Keith Wagner
    ("Have you ever had to relinquish power? A moment in your life when you had to turn over something in your control to someone else? Letting go of power is not an easy thing. I remember leaving a management position and having to turn in my company car and the keys to the building. All at once I felt powerless...")
  • The Joy of Letting Go

    by Keith Wagner
    Dr. James Dobson relates a story of an elderly woman named Stella Thornhope who was struggling with her first Christmas alone. Her husband had died just a few months prior through a slow developing cancer. Now, several days before Christmas, she was almost snowed in by a brutal weather system. She felt terribly alone, so much so she decided she was not going to decorate for Christmas. Late that afternoon the doorbell rang, and there was a delivery boy with a box..." and other illustrations
  • The One Thing We Lack

    by Keith Wagner
    ("Remember John Boy on the Waltons? His father expected him to work on the family farm like every other generation. But, John Boy wanted to be a writer. He was afraid to tell his father about his desire to leave the family farm and move to a big city. To stay on the family farm and be a farmer was holding him back...")
  • Material Things

    by Andrew Warner
    ("On the way out of my city I often pass a large self-storage center. Rows and rows of nondescript units are lined up like barracks at an army base. I often wonder what is inside those storage units: treasured heirlooms, vast collections of National Geographic, broken and tattered belongings that someone doesn't want to give up?...")
  • Dangerous Wealth

    by Garth Wehrfritz-Hanson
    ("One night in a segment shown on the TV news, a man, an East Indian by birth, and his wife were being interviewed. This man, whose name I cannot recall, was born into, and brought up in poverty in New Delhi. As a child he frequently slept on the streets and scrounged his food from garbage cans. He had the spirit, however, to want to make something of his life..." and another illustration)
  • The Gift of Wisdom

    by Dominic White, OP
    ("We all need to know wise people. Someone to turn to for advice at an important or difficult time in our lives. Someone who will soothe our worries, and will speak their mind, but in gentleness. Folk tales are full of Wise Men and Fairy Godmothers, and they remain favourite characters, and modern stories too: Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings, or Dumbledore in Harry Potter...")
  • When Too Much Is Not Enough

    by Carlos Wilton
    "Did you hear the news story, last month, about the Forbes 400 List? Every year, Forbes magazine compiles a list of the 400 richest people in the world. This year, for the first time ever, every one of those 400 people on the list is a billionaire. Number three on the Forbes list – behind Bill Gates and Warren Buffett – is a man named Sheldon Adelson. He was number 15 last year..." and other illustrations
  • Illustrations (Proper 23B)(2006)

    Compiled by Tim Zingale
  • Your Choice

    by Tim Zingale
    ("I would like to share with you a poem written by a teenage girl who has felt the pain of not knowing what life was all about, the pain of searching for answers. As I listen to her words, and feel her struggles, I can see these words and feel these struggles on countless of faces all through the decades of time...")

Other Resources from 2018 to 2020

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Other Resources from 2015 to 2017

Other Resources from 2012 to 2014

Other Resources from 2009 to 2011

Other Resources from 2006 to 2008

Other Resources from 2000 to 2002

Children's Resources and Dramas

The Classics

Recursos en Español

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