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Sermon Illustrations on Arrogance

Background

The Self-Destruction of Executives

In his highly insightful work, Inside Job, Stephen W. Smith shares the sobering truth of what happens to many leaders when they climb the “ladder of success”:

The ground at the foot of the ladder of success is littered with the names, faces and stories of leaders who self-destructed on the way up. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know their names and faces. You’ve seen them interviewed by nightly news anchors, you’ve read the scandalous articles online, and you’ve possibly thought,

But that could never happen to me. According to the Harvard Business Review, two out of five new CEOs fail in their first eighteen months on the job. It appears that the major reason for the failure has nothing to do with competence or knowledge or experience, but rather with hubris and ego. In other words, they thought, But that could never happen to me.

Taken from Inside Job by Stephen W. Smith (c) 2009 by Stephen W. Smith. Published by InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL. www.ivpress.com

Stories

Giving Advice to (Bob) Dylan

When Bob Dylan was recording Blood on the Tracks – possibly the single greatest album in popular music history – he had to deal with a junior recording engineer who “explained” to him that he was going about the process of recording all wrong. After tolerating a good deal of this, Dylan finally said, “You know, if I had done all the stuff that people told me I was supposed to do, I might be somewhere by now.

Taken from Alan Jacobs, Snakes & Ladders (Newsletter), August 23, 2021.

Mark Twain & The Ruthless Businessman

A businessman known for his ruthlessness, arrogance, and religiosity told Mark Twain that before he died he intended to visit the Holy Land, climb Mount Sinai, and read the Ten Commandments aloud. ‘I have a better idea,’ Twain replied. ‘Just stay here in Boston and keep them!’  We’d rather cogitate on what we don’t know, than act on what we know we need to do.

Source Unknown

Only God Is Great

In 1717 when France’s Louis XIV died, his body lay in a golden coffin. He had called himself the “Sun King,” and his court was the most magnificent in Europe. To dramatize his greatness, he had given orders that during his funeral the cathedral would be only dimly lighted with only a sperial candle set: above the coffin. As thousands waited in hushed silence, Bishop Massilon began to speak. Then slowly reaching down, he snuffed out the candle, saying’ “Only God is great!

Taken from the Preacher’s Sourcebook for Creative Sermons, Ed. Robert J. Morgan, Thomas Nelson.

The Pride of the Titanic

I know most of us have probably heard enough stories about the Titanic, but it does stand as an amazing monument to the famous saying, slightly altered, “pride goes before the fall/destruction.” (Proverbs 16:18)

Did you know that the Titanic took 12,000 men two years to build? When it set sail from Belfast, North Ireland, it was the largest sailing vessel ever made. It was also, of course, considered unsinkable. The Captain of the ship even went on record as saying, “Even God himself cannot sink this ship.” 

Famous last words, wouldn’t you say? And that is of course because the Titanic did sink, because that very same captain would not change course as they crashed into icebergs in the Atlantic. So many lives lost simply because of pride. Think of all the other ways lives are lost, or damaged, because we are too proud to change our minds or our behaviors.

Stuart Strachan Jr.

Humor

Giving Advice to (Bob) Dylan

When Bob Dylan was recording Blood on the Tracks – possibly the single greatest album in popular music history – he had to deal with a junior recording engineer who “explained” to him that he was going about the process of recording all wrong. After tolerating a good deal of this, Dylan finally said, “You know, if I had done all the stuff that people told me I was supposed to do, I might be somewhere by now.

Taken from Alan Jacobs, Snakes & Ladders (Newsletter), August 23, 2021.

Mark Twain & The Ruthless Businessman

A businessman known for his ruthlessness, arrogance, and religiosity told Mark Twain that before he died he intended to visit the Holy Land, climb Mount Sinai, and read the Ten Commandments aloud. ‘I have a better idea,’ Twain replied. ‘Just stay here in Boston and keep them!’  We’d rather cogitate on what we don’t know, than act on what we know we need to do.

Source Unknown

More Resources

Related Themes

Click a topic below to explore more sermon illustrations! 

Humility

Narcissism

Power

Pride

Self-Centered

Self-Image

& Many More