The Sunday Sermonette: Blunders and Mistakes.

The Sunday Sermonette – Blunders and Mistakes. October 29, 2023.

                As a child, I loved playing with dragonflies! I’d see one buzzing around, wait for it to land, then grab it and hold it in my hand. I was fascinated by its bulging, yellow-green eyes, its tiny mouth viciously chewing my index finger, and its lavenderish, diaphanous wings, rapidly beating the air.

                With that in mind, here’s the question: Could the stirred wind from those delicate wings, or millions of such wings, cause another Katrina? Silly question, I know. But if you peer down the long, dusty corridors of time, you will discover many examples of seemingly insignificant events that altered the course of human history. Let’s uncover a few.

                In the 1860s, Alaska was a part of Russia. However, when the Crimean War broke out, Russia needed money to fight that war. Tsar Alexander II sold Alaska to America for 2 cents an acre. Years later, during the Alaska Gold Rush, millions of dollars went into the US coffers and the pockets of miners, making them very wealthy.  Russia’s mistake was America’s gain.

                The Leaning Tower of Pisa’s foundation was laid in 1173. Its iconic lean, however, was not in the architect’s plans. They blundered in calculating its proper foundation. Since then, many efforts have been made to stabilize the tower and prevent a collapse, but at the same time maintain the lean, which has made it a popular and lucrative tourist attraction.

                In 1999, NASA lost its $125 million Mars Climate Orbiter due to one of the biggest design blunders in NASA’s history. Due to the mistake of using two different measurement systems for the spacecraft’s navigation system, it could not receive correct navigational coordinates, and as a result, it was lost forever.

                In 1937, the world’s largest airship was filled with highly-explosive hydrogen gas because the US held a monopoly on helium and refused to export any to Nazi Germany. The airship caught fire and was consumed in less than forty seconds. The Nazi’s mistake of filling the ship with hydrogen instead of helium cost the lives of 36 people and ended airships as commercial transportation. That airship was the Hindenburg.

                In 1914, a chauffeur’s mistake killed over 16 million people and helped create The Great Depression. When the car of the Archduke of Austria, Franz Ferdinand, made a wrong turn, it was met by anarchist Gavrilo Princip. He fatally shot the Archduke and his wife, which, through a series of entangled alliances, triggered World War I.

                Over two thousand years ago, two men made decisions that affected their lives for all eternity. One believed, and one made the mistake of not believing. One heard, “Today, you shall be with me in Paradise.” The other heard no such words, died, and descended into a place of eternal torment and pain.

                We all make mistakes and blunders. But the greatest mistake, the greatest blunder, is to deny the one who whispered to the dying thief on the cross, “Today you shall be with me in Paradise.” The man who whispered those words in agony was God’s blessed son, Jesus. He never made a mistake. Never blundered. And willing died for you and me so that our sins might be forgiven by his Father, and we might live forever with Him in Glory.

                Made mistakes? Blunders? Don’t let denying Jesus be one of them. Your eternity rests on your decision.

                Ponder this and go forth.