This past Sunday I used an illustration about a man who was about to die, and had one final request of his friends. He gave each of them thirty thousand dollars and asked his friends to throw his money on top of his casket as it was being lowered into the ground. In my view, I presented the story as if it were entirely factual. After the service, however, some people approached me and presented a different view of the story: the three men actually kept the money.
At that moment, I felt that I was guilty of misleading people. When I got home I did more research and found out that the entire story was a joke. I heard the story relayed from someone else, and the person didn’t preface his remarks with, “Have you heard the joke about . . .” I assumed this person was informing me about something that happened, and that’s how I presented it to you all. Unfortunately, I didn’t do any fact-checking prior to sharing this on Sunday morning.
I do not want to be guilty of manipulating peoples’ emotions, so I apologize if I did that. Next time I will do more research before using illustrations. In addition, I will have that illustration edited out of the sermon before it appears on the church’s website.