Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Teddy Stollard

Dale Galloway tells the story of a young boy named Teddy Stollard. He was not the kind of kid who got invited to parties. He slouched in his chair and looked bored most of the time; he only spoke when called upon, and then in monosyllables.

He never dressed right; he had smelly clothes; he was a rather unattractive boy. Whenever his teacher would mark Teddy’s papers, she got a certain perverse pleasure out of marking all the wrong answers.

She would put the “F” on top with a little flair. She might have known better, because his history was on record:

First grade: Teddy is a good boy and shows promise, but has a poor home situation.

Second grade: Teddy is quiet and withdrawn. His mother is terminally ill.

Third grade: Teddy is falling behind. His mother died this year; his father is uninvolved.

Fourth grade: Teddy is hopelessly backward. His father has moved away; Teddy’s living with an aunt. He is deeply troubled. Christmas came, and all the children brought presents to school.

They were carefully wrapped, except for Teddy’s, which was packaged in brown paper and held together with tape and marked, “For Miss Thompson. From Teddy.”

The teacher would open the gifts one by one for the class to admire. When she opened Teddy’s, it was a rhinestone bracelet with most of the stones missing, and a bottle of perfume that was mostly gone.

The other children started to laugh, but Miss Thompson caught herself. Snapping on the bracelet, she said: “Isn’t it lovely, class? And doesn’t the perfume smell good?”

At the end of the class, Teddy approached her shyly. “I’m glad you liked my gifts, Miss Thompson,” he whispered. “All day long you smelled like my mother.

And her bracelet looked nice on you, too.” After he left, Miss Thompson put her head down on the desk and cried. She asked God to forgive her. She prayed that God would help her to see what he sees when she looks at a motherless boy.

When the children came back to school the next day, Miss Thompson was a new teacher. She tutored the children who needed extra help, Teddy most of all. By the end of the year he had caught up with most of his classmates and was ahead of some.

After that, she didn’t hear from him for quite a while. Then one day she received a note: Dear Miss Thompson, I wanted you to be the first to know I am graduating from high school, and I am second in my class.
-- Love, Teddy Stollard

Four years later came another note: Dear Miss Thompson, I wanted you to be the first to know I am graduating first in my class. The university has not been easy, but I liked it.
-- Love, Teddy Stollard

Four years later, another note: Dear Miss Thompson, I wanted to you be the first to know that as of today I am Theodore J. Stollard, M.D. How about that? I want you to come sit where my mother would have sat, because you’re the nearest thing to family that I’ve had.
-- Love, Teddy


A man wanders into a small antique shop in San Francisco. Mostly it’s cluttered with knickknacks and junk. On the floor, however, he notices what looks like an ancient Chinese vase. On closer inspection it turns out to be a priceless relic from the Ming dynasty whose value is beyond calculating. It is worth everything else in the store put together.

The owner clearly has no idea about the value of this possession, because it’s filled with milk and the cat’s drinking out of it. The man sees an opportunity for the deal of a lifetime. He cleverly strategizes a method to obtain the vase for a fraction of its worth.

“That’s an extraordinary cat you have,” he says to the owner. “How much would you sell her for?” “Oh, the cat’s not really for sale,” said the owner. “She keeps the store free of mice.” “I really must have her,” the man countered.

“Tell you what—I’ll give you a hundred dollars for her.” “She’s not really worth it,” laughed the owner, “but if you want her that badly, she’s yours.” “I need something to feed her from as well,” continued the man. “Let me throw in another ten dollars for that saucer she’s drinking out of.”

“Oh, I could never do that. That saucer is actually an ancient Chinese vase from the Ming dynasty. It is my prized possession, whose worth is beyond calculation. Funny thing, though; since we’ve had it, I’ve sold seventeen cats.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Do you want to go to heaven when you die?

After listening to Chuck Swindoll on the radio, eight-year-old Debbie asked six-year-old David, "Do you know about Jesus?"

Expecting a new slant on the old story, David replied, "No."

Sister continued, "Sit still because this is really scary." After explaining the gospel as only an eight-year-old could, she popped the question.

"Now, David, when you die, do you want to go to heaven to be with Jesus, God, your Mommy and Daddy, and big sister, or do you want to go to the lake of fire to be with the Devil and bank robbers?"

David thought a moment, then replied, "I want to stay right here."

Jim Abrahamson

1001 Quotes, Illustrations, and Humorous Stories: For Preachers, Teachers, and Writers.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Keep playing!

The folklore surrounding Poland's famous concert pianist and prime minister, Ignace Paderewski, includes this story: A mother, wishing to encourage her young son's progress at the piano, bought tickets for a Paderewski performance. When the night arrived, they found their seats near the front of the concert hall and eyed the majestic Steinway waiting on stage.

Soon the mother found a friend to talk to, and the boy slipped away. When eight o'clock arrived, the spotlights came on, the audience quieted, and only then did they notice the boy up on the bench, innocently picking out "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star."

His mother gasped, but before she could retrieve her son, the master appeared on the stage and quickly moved to the keyboard.

"Don't quit—keep playing," he whispered to the boy. Leaning over, Paderewski reached down with his left hand and began filling in a bass part. Soon his right arm reached around the other side, encircling the child, to add a running obbligato. Together, the old master and the young novice held the crowd mesmerized.

In our lives, unpolished though we may be, it is the Master who surrounds us and whispers in our ear, time and again, "Don't quit—keep playing." And as we do, he augments and supplements until a work of amazing beauty is created.

750 Engaging Illustrations.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Christian Significance

A STORY is told of the Pope when he was scheduled to speak to the United Nations delegates. His plane was to land in New York, from where he would be taken by limousine to the UN building. However, there was bad weather in New York and the plane couldn't land. The plane landed instead in Newark, New Jersey. They sent the limousine to pick up the Pope in Newark but they were running awfully late. The Pope got in the car. The driver was driving much too slow for the Pope. He said, "Driver, can't you go faster?"

The driver said, "I'm sorry, sir. I can't. I'm already in trouble. I've got outstanding tickets. If I drive fast and risk getting another ticket, I would jeopardize my license and then wouldn't be able to drive anybody and would lose my job."

The Pope thought for a second, then said, "Well, I've got to get there. I'll tell you what. Let me drive." So the driver got in the backseat and the Pope got behind the wheel. The Pope put his hand on the wheel, revved up the engine, and took off. He went winding down streets like he was driving a race car.

As he got close to the UN building, a policeman saw the speeding limousine doing all kinds of twists and twirls and turns. The police car's lights began to spiral as he went after the limo and pulled it over. One of the policemen got out, the other stayed in his car. The ticketing officer got out, got his ticket book, and went over to the window. He knocked on the window and signaled to roll the window down. He looked at who was driving the car, closed his book, and then went back to his own vehicle. The policeman who was still in the vehicle asked his partner, "Aren't you going to write him a ticket?"


"You're not going to write him a ticket?"

"No, no, I'm not writing this guy a ticket. You don't understand the importance of this guy who's in this car."

"Well, he can't be more important than the mayor, can he?"

"Oh yes, he can!"

"Wait a minute. He can't be more important than the governor of New York, can he?"

"Yes, he can!"

"Well, he cannot be more important than the president of the United States, right?"

"Yes, he can!"

The officer was confused. "Now wait a minute! Who can be more important than the president of the United States?"

"I don't know who the guy is, but the Pope is driving him!"

You don't ever have to feel like you're a nobody if Jesus is in your life. You're never a nobody if He's behind the wheel of your car. You're never a nobody, no matter what anybody says about you, because if Jesus is behind the wheel, Satan can't ticket you. You are somebody because Jesus is in your life.

[Spiritual Identity, in Christ; Blessing]

Rom. 8:28-39

Tony Evans' Book of Illustrations: Stories, Quotes, and Anecdotes from More than 30 Years of Preaching and Public Speaking.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

God is good!

GOD is good. The problem is that many of His children are ungrateful-quick to complain about what they don't have but slow to give thanks for what they do.

A little boy went grocery store shopping with his mother. They were in the checkout line and the grocer asked the mother if he could offer her son some candy. The mother agreed. As the grocer held out the jar, encouraging the boy to reach in, the little boy shook his head. The man stretched the jar out a little further and told the boy he could take as much as he would like. The boy continued to say no. With a confused look on his face, the grocer gave one last effort. The boy finally said, "I want you to give it to me." The grocer happily took some candy out of the container and handed it to the boy who quickly offered his thanks.

When he and his mother were in the car and on their way, she curiously asked, "Why wouldn't you take the candy? Why did you tell him to give the candy to you?" Her son replied, "Because, Momma, his hands were bigger than mine!" Smart boy. He understood that the hands of the source were bigger.

If God's children would simply let Him be God, they would soon discover that His hands are bigger than their own.

Tony Evans' Book of Illustrations: Stories, Quotes, and Anecdotes from More than 30 Years of Preaching and Public Speaking.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Becoming a radiant Christian

My friend Dorothy spent several weeks in prayer and special training to lead a Bible discussion group. Finally the big day arrived for the first class. Getting her family of six out the door was more hectic than usual that morning. Breakfast didn't turn out right, and several arguments were going on among the children. Dorothy, quickly getting frazzled, tried to regain her composure. In the midst of the bedlam, her husband entered the kitchen and surveyed the uproar.

"Kids! Settle down!" he admonished. "Your mom has only forty-five minutes until she has to become a radiant Christian."

Roseann Hill

1001 Quotes, Illustrations, and Humorous Stories: For Preachers, Teachers, and Writers.