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Sermon illustrations

Misunderstanding

Computer Mishaps

Computers give rise to many amusing salutations that could also offend. Humorous examples include the legendary Mr. Obe, a fine old West African name that didn’t happen to belong to the recipient (OBE-the Order of the British Empire-was just one of his decorations), and Mr. Prince, who in real life was (and still is) Prince Rainier of Monaco.

Some people have good reason to be sensitive about what we might do to their name. A nonprofit I once worked with received an irate complaint from a certain Miss. Fishpool, because the salutation of their most recent letter had omitted the final “l” form her surname.”

Ken Burnett, Relationship Fundraising.

An Interesting Depiction

At one point in his life, the famous modern artist Pablo Picasso was robbed in his French home. He told the police he would be happy to paint them a picture of the robbers. “And on the strength of that picture,” the French police later reported, “we arrested a mother superior, a government minister, a washing machine, and the Eiffel Tower.”

Stuart Strachan Jr.

Lord Halifax

Lord Halifax, a former foreign secretary of Great Britain, once shared a railway compartment with two prim-looking spinsters. A few moments before reaching his destination the train passed through a tunnel. In the utter darkness Halifax kissed the back of his hand noisily several times. When the train drew into the station, he rose, lifted his hat, and in a gentlemanly way said: “May I thank whichever one of you two ladies I am indebted to for the charming incident in the tunnel.” He then beat a hasty retreat, leaving the two ladies glaring at each other.

Bits & Pieces

Sherlock Holmes and Watson Go Camping

Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson are going camping. They pitch their tent under the stars and go to sleep. In the middle of the night Holmes wakes Watson up: “Watson, look up at the stars, and tell me what you deduce.”

Watson: “I see millions of stars and even if a few of those have planets, it’s quite likely there are some planets like Earth, and if there are a few planets like Earth out there, there might also be life.”

Holmes: “Watson, you idiot, somebody’s stolen our tent!”

Geoff Anandappa

The Birds and the Bees

An 8-year-old girl went to her dad, who was working in the yard. She asked him, “Daddy, what is sex?”

The father was surprised that she would ask such a question, but decides that if she is old enough to ask the question, then she is old enough to get a straight answer. He proceeded to tell her all about the ‘birds and the bees’. When he finished explaining, the little girl was looking at him with her mouth hanging open. The father asked her, “Why did you ask this question?” The little girl replied, “Mom told me to tell you that dinner would be ready in just a couple of secs.”

Richard Wiseman 

Time over Money

The Swiss-American Louie Agassiz  (1807-1873) was one of the most well regarded scientists of his day, teaching first in France and later at Harvard. Agassiz was regularly offered opportunities to lecture outside the environs of Harvard, but he always refused. One man pleaded with Agassiz to address his society, going so far to say that they could pay him handsomely to speak to them. Agassiz replied, ““That’s no inducement to me…I can’t afford to waste my time making money.”

Stuart Strachan Jr., Source Material provided by Clifton Fadiman, Bartlett’s Book of Anecdotes

See also illustrations on Communication, Failure, Quitting

Still Looking for inspiration?

Consider checking out our quotes page on Misunderstanding. Don’t forget, sometimes a great quote is an illustration in itself!

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