Sermon Illustrations
Posted by Douglas on Dec 29, 2008

This morning I went out snowshoeing. Because we've had a mixture of snow, rain, and freezing rain recently, there were stretches of my trek where the rain had washed down the hill, forming a smooth sheet of ice on an uphill grade.

Now, if I hadn't been wearing my snowshoes, I would have found it just about impossible to make it up that slope without sliding backwards two feet for every foot I moved forward.

But my snowshoes have vicious-looking sawtooth crampons on the bottom, that do a great job of digging into the ice and giving me the traction I need.

I didn't slip even once, on my way up the hill, or on my way back down.

As I was walking, I thought of two verses. One of them was a verse I read just yesterday, from the book of Psalms. Psalm 73, speaking of the wicked, says:

73:18Truly you set them in slippery places; you make them fall to ruin.Psalms 73:18 (ESV)

The Psalm tells us that those who live with unrighteousness might appear to have it all together, they might appear to be on solid footing, but in reality, they're like someone on a sheet of ice without snowshoes. Sooner or later, no matter how "together" they seem to be, they'll slip up, and everything falls apart.

Now, if I were to ask you, "How do you avoid that slippery place?" you might be tempted to answer, "Don't get involved in unrighteousness." That's not a bad answer, but it's actually not what the Psalmist says. In verses 2 and 3, he writes:

73:2But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled, my steps had nearly slipped.3For I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.Psalms 73:2-3 (ESV)

Isn't that interesting? The Psalmist says that it is envy that almost put him on the slippery slope. That makes sense, doesn't it? It is our envy that causes us to take the same shortcuts the unrighteous take in order to reach our goals.

I guess that means contentment is like a good pair of snowshoes. I wouldn't want to be without it!

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