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Sermon Illustrations on Goals

Stories

Curse The Shortness of Life

The politician Helen Violet Asquith (later Bonham Carter) was once attending a dinner with Winston Churchill, who initially seemed lost in abstraction for an awkwardly long period of time. Abruptly he awakened from his stupor and looked at the young woman. He then asked Asquith how old she was.

Nineteen came the reply. “ ‘And I,” he said with a tinge of despair, “am thirty-two already.” After a few moments he continued, “Younger than anyone else who counts, though.” Then, almost out of nowhere, he proceeded to bemoan how little time we have to cement our legacies:

“Curse ruthless time! Curse our mortality. How cruelly short is the allotted span for all we must cram into it!’ He then continued on the depravity of a short life until he concluded: ‘We are all worms. But I do believe that I am a glow worm.”

Stuart Strachan Jr.

The Lost Ticket

Albert Einstein, the great physicist, was once traveling from Princeton on a train when the conductor came down the aisle, punching the tickets of every passenger. When he came to the famous professor, Einstein reached into his vest pocket. He couldn’t find his ticket, so he reached in his trouser pockets. It wasn’t there, so he looked in his briefcase but couldn’t find it. Then he looked in the seat beside him. He still couldn’t find it.

The conductor said, ‘Dr. Einstein, I know who you are. We all know who you are. I’m sure you bought a ticket. Don’t worry about it.’

Einstein nodded appreciatively. The conductor continued down the aisle punching tickets. As he was ready to move to the next car, he turned around and saw the great physicist down on his hands and knees looking under his seat for his ticket.

The conductor rushed back and said, ‘Dr. Einstein, Dr. Einstein, don’t worry, I know who you are. No problem. You don’t need a ticket. I’m sure you bought one.’

Einstein looked at him and said, ‘Young man, I too, know who I am. What I don’t know is where I’m going.’

Source Unknown, this story may or may not be true, but still has illustrative power.

ONE MORE LAP!

I recently heard a story about a race in which one runner had a significant lead over the rest of the field. As the man rounded the final turn, the crowd roared as he inched closer and closer to the finish line, visibly exhausted but simultaneously elated at the result. Everything seemed normal as the crowd continued to congratulate the runners at the finish line, until the “front runner’s” coach ran frantically up to him yelling “ONE MORE LAP! ONE MORE LAP! ONE MORE LAP!

Stuart Strachan Jr. Source Material from “For the Church: Gospel Centered Resources from Midwest Seminary, Kevin Halloran, Article: Should a Preacher Use Humor from the Pulpit.

The Scottish Discus Thrower

As a young boy, around the time my heart began to suspect that the world was a fearful place and I was on my own to find my way through it, I read the story of a Scottish discus thrower from the nineteenth century.  He lived in the days before professional trainers and developed his skills alone in the highlands of his native village.  He even made his own discus from the description he read in a book. What he didn’t know was the discus used in competition was made of wood with an outer rim of iron. His was solid metal and weighed three or four times as much as those being used by his would-be challengers.

This committed Scotsman marked out his field the distance of the current record throw and trained day and night to be able to match it. For nearly a year, he labored under the self-imposed burden of the extra weight, becoming very, very good. He reached the point at which he could throw his iron discus the record distance, maybe farther. He was ready.

The highlander traveled south to England for his first competition. When he arrived at the games, he was handed the wooden discus—which he promptly threw like a tea saucer. He set a record, a distance so far beyond those of his competitors one could touch him. For many years he remained the uncontested champion. Something in my heart connected with this story.

John Eldredge, The Sacred Romance, Nelson, 1997.

Why I’m Here

​​There is a story involving Yogi Berra, the well-known catcher for the New York Yankees, and Hank Aaron, who at that time was the chief power hitter for the Milwaukee Braves. The teams were playing in the World Series, and as usual Yogi was keeping up his ceaseless chatter, intended to pep up his teammates on the one hand, and distract the Milwaukee batters on the other. 

As Aaron came to the plate, Yogi tried to distract him by saying, “Henry, you’re holding the bat wrong. You’re supposed to hold it so you can read the trademark.” Aaron didn’t say anything, but when the next pitch came he hit it into the left-field bleachers. After rounding the bases and tagging up at home plate, Aaron looked at Yogi Berra and said, “I didn’t come up here to read.”

J.M. Boice, Nehemiah: Learning to Lead, Revell, 1990, p. 38.

Studies

A Desire for Fame Rises in Millennials

In a survey given in 1976, participants were asked to list their life goals. Fame ranked fifteenth out of sixteen. In a recent survey, 51 percent of millenials listed being famous as “one of their top personal goals.”

Stuart Strachan Jr. Source information from “A Portrait of ‘Generation Next,’” Pew Research Center, January 9, 2007, www.people-press.org/2007/01/09/a-portrait-of-generation-next.

Humor

Curse The Shortness of Life

The politician Helen Violet Asquith (later Bonham Carter) was once attending a dinner with Winston Churchill, who initially seemed lost in abstraction for an awkwardly long period of time. Abruptly he awakened from his stupor and looked at the young woman. He then asked Asquith how old she was.

Nineteen came the reply. “ ‘And I,” he said with a tinge of despair, “am thirty-two already.” After a few moments he continued, “Younger than anyone else who counts, though.” Then, almost out of nowhere, he proceeded to bemoan how little time we have to cement our legacies:

“Curse ruthless time! Curse our mortality. How cruelly short is the allotted span for all we must cram into it!’ He then continued on the depravity of a short life until he concluded: ‘We are all worms. But I do believe that I am a glow worm.”

Stuart Strachan Jr.

The Lost Ticket

Albert Einstein, the great physicist, was once traveling from Princeton on a train when the conductor came down the aisle, punching the tickets of every passenger. When he came to the famous professor, Einstein reached into his vest pocket. He couldn’t find his ticket, so he reached in his trouser pockets. It wasn’t there, so he looked in his briefcase but couldn’t find it. Then he looked in the seat beside him. He still couldn’t find it.

The conductor said, ‘Dr. Einstein, I know who you are. We all know who you are. I’m sure you bought a ticket. Don’t worry about it.’

Einstein nodded appreciatively. The conductor continued down the aisle punching tickets. As he was ready to move to the next car, he turned around and saw the great physicist down on his hands and knees looking under his seat for his ticket.

The conductor rushed back and said, ‘Dr. Einstein, Dr. Einstein, don’t worry, I know who you are. No problem. You don’t need a ticket. I’m sure you bought one.’

Einstein looked at him and said, ‘Young man, I too, know who I am. What I don’t know is where I’m going.’

Source Unknown, this story may or may not be true, but still has illustrative power.

ONE MORE LAP!

I recently heard a story about a race in which one runner had a significant lead over the rest of the field. As the man rounded the final turn, the crowd roared as he inched closer and closer to the finish line, visibly exhausted but simultaneously elated at the result. Everything seemed normal as the crowd continued to congratulate the runners at the finish line, until the “front runner’s” coach ran frantically up to him yelling “ONE MORE LAP! ONE MORE LAP! ONE MORE LAP!

Stuart Strachan Jr. Source Material from “For the Church: Gospel Centered Resources from Midwest Seminary, Kevin Halloran, Article: Should a Preacher Use Humor from the Pulpit.

Why I’m Here

​​There is a story involving Yogi Berra, the well-known catcher for the New York Yankees, and Hank Aaron, who at that time was the chief power hitter for the Milwaukee Braves. The teams were playing in the World Series, and as usual Yogi was keeping up his ceaseless chatter, intended to pep up his teammates on the one hand, and distract the Milwaukee batters on the other. 

As Aaron came to the plate, Yogi tried to distract him by saying, “Henry, you’re holding the bat wrong. You’re supposed to hold it so you can read the trademark.” Aaron didn’t say anything, but when the next pitch came he hit it into the left-field bleachers. After rounding the bases and tagging up at home plate, Aaron looked at Yogi Berra and said, “I didn’t come up here to read.”

J.M. Boice, Nehemiah: Learning to Lead, Revell, 1990, p. 38.

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