Sermon Illustration: A Father’s Day Gift I Had Nothing to do With

Sermon Illustration: A Father’s Day Gift I Had Nothing to do With June 22, 2018

To illustrate the point that we cannot love like Jesus on our own, I began a Father’s Day message with this story. . .


I love to receive gifts. I love to give gifts. But I am awful at being creative and thoughtful in gift-giving. As a matter of fact, I don’t have a creative bone in my body. Gift-giving is something I enjoy doing. I just don’t put a lot of time and energy and thought into it. I am known as the son who is happy to get a card in the mail that gets to my dad BEFORE Father’s Day. A card that I picked up quickly at the store (or my wife picked up at the store. . . let’s be real).

But not this year. Nope. NO-SIR-REE. This year I became known (at least for the time being) as the best child my dad has ever seen or known. My sisters can “eat it” because I have pulled off THE Father’s Day gift of all Father’s Day gifts for Steve Pearson. Gus Malzhahn and Allen Greene spoke at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center last Tuesday (June 12th, 2018). I met my dad there. We arrived early so we could hang out. We ate all you can eat BBQ from a buffet. We were with 200 Auburn fanatics. We said “War Eagle!” a lot. We wore Auburn clothes. We talked bad about the other team in the state. We listened with delight to Allen Greene and in awe of coach Gus. It was wonderful! Best. Father’s. Day. Gift. Ever.

I went from being the worst gift-giver to one of the most thoughtful and creative gift-givers ever . . . in a moment. My sisters will curse me and my father will rise up and call me blessed.

But here’s the thing. I had NOTHING to do with it. Seriously, I didn’t. Nothing.

About a month ago, my mom sent me a text with a link to the event. She wondered if I was interested and free that night. She thought it would be a good idea if I met dad there for a Father’s Day gift to him. I checked and was free. THEN my wonderful mother said SHE would purchase the tickets and have the tickets sent to her house. THEN she said I should call my dad in a couple of days and surprise him with “my” gift to him for Father’s Day. For. Real.


My mom saw the event. My mom sent me the link. My mom asked if I would be interested. My mom paid for the tickets. My mom took care of the logistics of the tickets. My mom didn’t tell my dad but let me surprise him.

Let me be clear: My mom did everything and I did nothing.

But I went from being the worst gift-giver to being the best in a moment. And I had nothing to do with it.


When I read Ephesians 5:1-2, I know I cannot love like that.

But that’s the point. We can’t. But it happens as we follow and allow the One who IS love transform us.



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