The truth about the lawnmower story

May 26, 2010

The lawnmower story that I used in the beginning of my last sermon was a weaving together of a joke that my friend Karl told and an actual conversation I had with him.

The joke he told was about a young boy and a preacher who traded a bicycle for a lawnmower. When the preacher had trouble starting the mower he was told by the boy that he needed to cuss the mower if he wanted to get it started. When the preacher explained to the boy how long he had been preaching and how foreign cussing was to him the boy responded with the line, “Just keep pulling that rope — it’ll come back to you.”

I also had an actual phone conversation with Karl one day while I was trying to start the church lawnmower. I can testify that our lawnmower had not responded to harsh language, but with Karl’s advice I eventually did get it started.

There wasn’t a clear Pentecostal point to that somewhat fictional tale, but it was an irresistible opening. My attitude is that people who generously give a preacher several minutes of valuable attention deserve to hear a good line if you can find one. And if a preacher has the good fortune to hear a good line there’s bound to be a connection between that and something Jesus said or did.


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