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Saw No Value

(This is based on a true story.)

Annie was a large, rather unattractive girl. Actually, Annie was fat.

A member of a youth group, Annie regularly attended most of the youth functions and Bible studies. During one of those meetings, the youth leader introduced a situational learning game called, "The Lifeboat."

He instructed the dozen high school kids present to form their chairs to resemble the seating on a lifeboat. Then he said, "You twelve are the only survivors of a shipwreck. You have managed to make it to this lifeboat. Once you are aboard, however, you find to your horror that there are only provisions for eleven. Also, the boat can hold only eleven survivors. Twelve people will capsize the boat, leaving you all to drown. You must decide what to do."

The group stared blankly at each other for a few moments before bursting into lively discussion. They decided that for the good of the majority of the members of the group, one person must be sacrificed. But who?

As the group discussed who would be left to drown, they eliminated various individuals perceived to be of value to the survivors. The strongest and most athletic boys couldn't be sacrificed-their strength would be needed to row. Naturally, the boys wouldn't think of letting any of the pretty girls become shark food. Slowly each individual in the group, with the exception of Annie, was mentioned and then discarded as a candidate for sacrifice. Some were too smart, too talented, or too popular.

Finally, Annie, who may not have been attractive but who was not dumb, blurted out, "I'll jump."

"No, no!" protested the group. But when pressed, they couldn't think of one good reason why she shouldn't jump-so they remained silent.

When the time to play the game ran out, the group members announced that they couldn't reach a decision on what to do. The youth worker went on to teach a lesson using the example of the lifeboat. But Annie had already learned a lesson.

The next day, Annie jumped. Her youth group had affirmed her worst thoughts about herself. She truly was of no value.

Her "friends" in the youth group were baffled and deeply saddened by her suicide. After all, she had so much to live for. They just couldn't think of what it was.

We rarely look below the surface to see in a person what Christ sees. Instead, we too often equate a person's value with his or her looks, popularity, possessions, or abilities. If none of those things is obvious, then we see no value at all in that individual.

"Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart" (I Sam. 16:7b; I Pet. 3:3, 4.) Christians need to see others as they are seen by God-as having inherent worth apart from what the world sees. Every human being was created in God's image and is loved by Him. Jesus died for all of us-and in Christ, we are all members of His family, brothers and sisters. Further, each one of us is gifted by His Holy Spirit to make a unique contribution to His kingdom. (See I Corinthians 12.)

What would you have said to Annie?

Hot Illustrations For Youth Talks
Wayne Rice, Zonderzan, pp. 138-139.