Painting the Wrong House

I used this illustration in a sermon I preached a few weeks ago and wanted to share it with everyone.  I preached on the topic of provoking our children to anger by withholding things from them.

Ephesians 6:4 says, “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”

These things included our time, favoritism, affection, encouragement, fun, listening and unconditional like.

I closed with an illustration that I heard recently about a man who was a lifelong painter.  He was always looking for that one job that would allow him to retire.  That job that would make him enough money that he wouldn’t have to paint another house.  One day someone called him out of the blue on a referral.  The rich man had a huge house that he needed painted.  The painter got all the details and agreed to start on it right away.

The painter arrived at the house the next day and could not believe his eyes.  The house was the largest he had ever seen and was in terrible shape.  It would take him forever to complete this project, but the owner wanted him alone to do the work no matter how long it took.  For the next 20 years this man worked on the house removing the old paint, scraping, sanding, painting.  He took his time and paid special attention to detail.  He talked with the owner once a week to give him and update and received a check every month.  The painter would also get a lump sum at the end of the project.

His dedicated work soon grew a crowd who would ask him about his progress and wondered when the painting would be finished.  Everyone guessed who owned the house but no one really knew.  The painter had finally finished and told all the gawkers that he would be unveiling the finished house to the owner the next weekend.

The whole town had gathered to see the owner and the painter unveiling the house.  The owner came up the road in a large limousine and slowly pulled into the drive-way where a crowd had gathered around the painter.  The old frail man stepped out of the car in a brand new suit.  He looked up and down at the house and glared at the painter.  The painter had a grin from ear to ear and walked over to the owner to take in the praise of his work.

The owner yelled over to the painter, “YOU PAINTED THE WRONG HOUSE!’  He then proceeded to get in his car and drive off.

Long story short, what are you spending your time on today?  What you are doing on the outside may look great to you or those around you.  When you truly look at it are you painting the wrong house?  Are you investing your time in something that will last?

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