Before You Enter “Luke’s Gospel”

Remember the story in Luke 12 that Jesus told about the man who owned a magnificent farm that overproduced? He congratulated himself, tore down his barns and built bigger ones, and set himself up for a life of ease and luxury. God called him a fool and added, “This night your soul will be required of you. Then whose will these things be which you have provided?” The fellow died that night and his farm was left to his heirs.

Frank Pollard calls that story “The farm that owned a fool.”

A month ago, this wonderful preacher of the gospel went to Heaven, and many of us have been having Frank-Pollard-withdrawal ever since. A friend sent me a CD of some of his banquet talks which consist mostly of humorous poems and stories he told over the year. This morning, I ran across the small book Frank produced on the Gospel of Luke for the Southern Baptist annual Bible study a half-dozen years ago.

There are so many Pollardisms in it, I thought you would enjoy some of them. Then, if and when you decide to study this gospel more or if you plan to teach it or preach through it, I suggest you go to any of the on-line used-book-providers (my favorite is and order it.

Frank Pollard, I might ought to insert here for the few who are unfamiliar with him, was the longtime pastor of Jackson, Mississippi’s First Baptist Church. Time Magazine called him one of the 10 best preachers in America a generation ago. That was no fluke. Anyone who heard him preach regularly agrees. For fresh content, excellent application, and fascinating exegesis of Scripture, he had few peers.

Regarding the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15, when the boy comes home to a grand reception by the father, Frank writes, “Hollywood certainly would let the credits roll here. The boy is back; there is a joyous homecoming; the best calf has been butchered. The smell of barbecued beef and the sound of happy music are everywhere. A huge party is in process. Turn the house lights on.” Then he adds, “Our Lord did not end His parable there. The plot was just heating up. Jesus was getting to His main point.” He moves on to considering the older brother, who Frank says, “left his father without ever stepping off the front porch.” (pp. 15-16)

“Sometimes…Jesus gave the impression that He did not want large crowds following Him. Indeed, the larger the crowd, the more narrow His teachings.” (p. 35)

“I know the gospel I preach changes people because I saw it change my father. He was 64 at the time of his decision to receive Christ. One of the major indications of his new life in Christ was his renewed love for my mother. A big part of faith in Christ is loving Him more than any other person.” (p. 38)

Frank Pollard tells of traveling to New York City to interview Bishop Fulton Sheen whom he calls “one of the most effective media ministers of all time.” Sheen looked at the young preacher and said, “You have come to New York City to talk to me about preaching? I cannot talk to you about preaching. I do not know what to say. Preaching is a gift. It is like being a beautiful woman. She is not responsible for having her beauty, but she is very responsible for what she does with it.” (p. 50)

Pollard tells about a small rural church where the children decided to put on a demonstration of the story of the good Samaritan and do it in pantomime. Olga, the best reader in the class, read the part about the man who went down from Jerusalem to Jericho and fell among thieves who beat him up, robbed him, and left him for dead in the ditch. The children were enacting this scene as she read.

Then she read about the priest who passed by on the other side of the road, as a child played that part. Then he read of the Levite who did the same.

Now, Olga read about the Samaritan who arrived on the scene, saw the man in the ditch, and cared for him and helped him. Everyone was looking around for the child who was going to portray this scene, but no one walked out.

As they waited silently, a small boy on the front row was seen to punch his buddy next to him in the shoulder and say, “That’s you!”

His friend said, “No, it’s not! She told us last Sunday you were supposed to be the good Samaritan.”

The first one said, “She did not! She said you were supposed to!”

“No, she didn’t!”

Frank writes, “While the boys argued, that fellow just lay up on the stage and died. I wonder how many of us think God told somebody else to be the good Samaritan!” (p. 96)

“In an x-ray waiting room of a Kansas hospital hangs a framed quote from Shakespeare. It is from Hamlet, act 3, scene 4, the scene in which Hamlet produces a play making his parents appear guilty of murder. Hamlet pushes his mother, Gertrude, into a chair and says, ‘Come, come. Sit you down. You budge not. You go not hence while I set up a glass that you might see the inmost part of you.’ Pretty appropriate for an x-ray waiting room, is it not? Having humility coming before God and letting Him show us our inmost part.” (p. 111)

And finally….

“A radio preacher, after delivering a sermon called ‘Maturity in the Spirit,’ asked his listeners to send in letters about their Christian lives. One man wrote, ‘I am glad to write you about my Christian life. I do not smoke; I do not touch alcohol; I do not gamble; I am faithful to my wife and never look at another woman; I work hard; I never go to movies; I go to bed early every night; I rise with the dawn. I have been living like this for three years now, but just wait til next spring when they let me out of this place.” (p. 124)

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