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The Secret Of Life

Father ... Give us each day our daily bread
Luke 11:1-13

Sermon Topic Dependence

Sermon Week Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle C

Scripture Summary Luke 11:2,3


In the Nineteenth Chapter of his Gospel, Luke tells us of Jesus' encounter with the chief tax collector in Jericho -- a man named Zacchaeus, a wealthy man, but "small of stature." When Jesus came to Jericho, Zacchaeus wanted "to see what He was like." Why were all those people following Him? What was the secret of His success? Too short to see over the crowd, Zacchaeus climbed a tree. Jesus spotted him and said, "Zacchaeus, hurry down, I mean to stay at your house tonight" (Lk. 19:5). Later, Jesus went to Zacchaeus' house and engaged His host in earnest conversation. Before they had finished talking, Zacchaeus said, "Behold, Lord, I give one-half of all my possessions to the poor" (Lk. 19:11). Jesus answered, "Today salvation has come to this house" (Lk. 19:11). Zacchaeus had discovered the secret of Jesus' formula for genuine success.

In a certain seminary, one of the homiletics professors gave his students a book list to read in preparation for the final test in his preaching course. The test itself was to preach a sermon to the class based on a single word taken from one of the books on the list. The student was to go to the pulpit in the chapel, open a piece of paper on which the one word was written and begin to preach a sermon on it. One young man decided that since the book list contained only general background reading, he didn't need to waste his time with it. Instead, he would merely depend on God to inspire him in the moment of his sermon. When his turn came to preach, he went into the pulpit, opened the paper and there was the one word: "Zacchaeus." The student waited desperately. And God didn't come. In his desperation, the student then preached one of the shortest three-point sermons in history. He said, "Point one: Zacchaeus was a little man, and so am I. Point two: Zacchaeus was up a tree, and so am I. Point three: Zacchaeus heard a compelling voice urging him to come down, and so do I." [...]

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