But I'm back. Life got a bit busy .. with college .. with having my house unshipped for new carpet .. with preaching in church for 5 weeks straight .. and with having a lot on my mind. But I'm here, and I thought I'd include a couple of stories i've recently come across. The first I plan to use as a sermon illustration in a couple of weeks (on the passage about 'who is my mother and my brother?' what it means to be in Jesus' family) The second one I used a week ago, on discipleship, as an illustration of what it means to die to self. Hope you are as touched by these stories as I was .
It is said that Cyrus, the founder of the Persian Empire, once had captured a prince and his family. When they came before him, the monarch asked the prisoner, "What will you give me if I release you?" "The half of my wealth," was his reply. "And if I release your children?" "Everything I possess." "And if I release your wife?" "Your Majesty, I will give myself." Cyrus was so moved by his devotion that he freed them all.
As they returned home, the prince said to his wife, "Wasn't Cyrus a handsome man!" With a look of deep love for her husband, she said to him, "I didn't notice. I could only keep my eyes on you- -the one who was willing to give himself for me."
Chrysostom was the patriarch of Constantinople in the fourth century. One of the stories surrounding this faithful witness concerns the occasion when the Roman emperor had him arrested and charged with being a Christian. If Chrysostom did not renounce Christ, then the emperor would have this Christian leader banished from the kingdom. Chrysostom responded to the threat by saying that the emperor could not do so, “because the whole world is my Father’s kingdom.” “Then,” replied the emperor, “I will take away your life.” To which Chrysostom said, “You cannot, for my life is hid with Christ in God.” Next threatened with the loss of his treasure, this saint replied, “You cannot, for my treasure is in heaven where my heart is.” The emperor made one last effort: “Then I will drive you away from here and you shall have no friend left.” But again Chrysostom responded, “You cannot, for I have one Friend from whom you can never separate me. I defy you for you can do me no harm.”