Today’s Illustration: But It Wasn’t

Who: Ed & Carol Meyers

Where: At the Atlantic Ocean on a North Carolina Beach — Sanderling Inn Resort

When: February 14, 1999


  • Ed and Carol Meyer were celebrating their first anniversary — They were married on Valentine’s Day, 1998, in Fredericksburg, Virginia

  • “Ed and Carol Meyers were watching the sun rise on a North Carolina beach when the idea struck. “Ed looked off to the side and saw a wine bottle,” recalls Carol Meyers. “We decided, let’s send a message in a bottle. Why not?”

  • “They wrote a note on some hotel stationery and stuffed it into the bottle, along with a small piece of cake. Hand in hand, they chucked it into the Atlantic Ocean, and watched it bob out to sea.”

  • “I expected it would wash up on the shore not too far away, and that would be the end of it.” — Carol Meyers

  • “But it wasn’t.”

  • Eight years later, in the Caribbean (in Turks and Caicos), the bottle washed up on the shore.
  • In May of 2007, Clint Buffington (a 22-year-old young man, beachcombing, along with his dad and brother) found that very bottle.
  • “At the time, we were just beachcombers — we were looking for shells, sharks’ teeth, things like that and they found a green bottle sticking out of the sand — “a little green bottle with the cork still in it. . . . “There was a lightning flash moment . . . Oh my God, there’s paper in there … and there’s writing on it.” — Clint
  • “It was dry, brittle, and damaged.  I had to sit there with tweezers and a spray bottle and gently get it out.”

“Carol and Ed Meyers celebrated their first wedding anniversary at the Sanderling Inn Resort on February 14th, 1999. They were wed on Valentine’s Day, 1998, in Fredericksburg, Virginia, USA. Included in this note is some of our wedding cake.

Peace and love to you,
We wish you happiness.

Ed Meyers
Carol Meyers”

  • Clint spent over a year trying to find Ed & Carol Meyer, but was unable to find them.
  • Clint contacted Cathy Dyson, who was a reporter at the Fredericksburg Freelance-Star reported who published the story.
  • “by complete chance, a friend of the Meyers saw it, and alerted the Meyers. A few days later, Buffington — who was working as a deckhand on a Chicago tour boat at the time — received this email from Carol Meyers.”

  • Buffington started a website called “Message in a Bottle Hunter.”
  • He’s discovered 38 notes in bottles.

. . 

Key Biblical Thoughts:

  • witnessing
  • salvation
  • the Gospel message
  • patience
  • found
  • lost
  • it just so happened / “by complete chance”
  • our testimony
  • The Word of God
  • “It is the power of God unto salvation.”

. . . . . 

Sermonic Example: There are several distinct ways that one can use illustrative material.

(use whatever you find useful in the above details)

All of us have had the experience of sharing Jesus, and left this-or-that situation thinking — “My words fell on deaf ears.”  That family member, friend, co-worker, or stranger never understood what I was saying.  You were pretty well convinced that your words were “lost at sea?”

However, that is not true when it comes to the Scriptures.  While your words may be lost at sea, His words are always heard — to soften or harden, now or later.

You thought it was lost — BUT IT WASN’T

The book of Ecclesiastes says it this way . . .

Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days.

He that observeth the wind shall not sow;
and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap.
As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit,
nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child:
even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all.” 

Ecc. 11:1 – 5

Other Information & Details:

“Just as the angry rain clouds were rolling in, I saw a green bottle lying on the sand right where I planned to turn around. Seeing paper inside the bottle knocked the air out of me—I just stared at it for a minute like I was waiting for the bottle to make the first move. Finally, I picked it up and stuffed it into my backpack. You know when Frodo is carrying the One Ring to Mordor? That’s what it feels like to walk around with a message in a bottle in your backpack (only more fun)—like you are carrying something impossibly rare, fragile, and important. It has a weight that seems too great for its size.

When I found the bottle, the message inside was wet and plastered to the inside of the glass, so I decided to bring it home and open it here to keep it safe. When I broke the bottle open, this is what I found.”

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