Example Sermon Illustrations

Example Sermon Illustrations

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We are all of us more or less echoes, repeating involuntarily the virtues, the defects, the movements, and the character of those among whom we live.—Joseph Joubert, French Essayist


All true teachers illustrate in person the running text of their teaching. The most spacious reasoning cannot dispose of an idea which is alive in human form. Hence the convincing power of example. The protest that a thing cannot be done falls flat in the presence of one who is doing it. Example is a type of practical philosophy more potent than oratory or logic.—Lydia Ross, Sunrise


A careful man I want to be—
A little fellow follows me;
I do not dare to go astray,
For fear he'll go the selfsame way.

I cannot once escape his eyes;
Whate'er he sees me do, he tries;
Like me he says he's going to be—
The little fellow who follows me.

He thinks that I am good and fine—
Believes in every word of mine;
The base in me he must not see—
The little fellow who follows me.

I must remember as I go
Through summer's sun and winter's snow,
I am building for the years that be
For that little chap who follows me.—Lee Fisher, Sunshine Magazine


A certain psychology professor admonished his students, "Don't let school pupils get dependent on you: Make them think for themselves." After the lecture a graduate student came to the professor seeking an answer to a question. It seems that he was supervising some undergraduates who constantly troubled him with problems which could and should be solved by the students themselves. "What am Ito do?" he wanted to know.

The learned professor cleared his throat and agreed that some students frequently fried to trap instructors into solving their problems for them. "Now what I would do if I were you," he went on, "is to————.


The Sociology professor had just returned term papers to the students in his class. Obviously perplexed one student hesitatingly approached the professor. "What is this you wrote on my paper?" he asked.

"I told you to write legibly," explained the professor.


There can be no striving for excellence without models to inspire emulation. There can be no greatness without the encouragement to ask much of oneself.—Special Studies Project V, Rockefeller Brothers, The Pursuit of Excellence


The best way to show that a stick is crooked is not to argue about it, or spend your time denouncing it, but to lay a straight slick alongside of it.—Dwight Lyman Moody


"Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing!"—Albert Schweitzer


A man had a Chinese plate he valued very much. One day it fell and cracked down the middle. He ordered 6 more made and to insure the exact pattern, he sent his broken plate as a copy. When he received the package from China 6 months later, he was astonished to find the Chinese craftsman had so faithfully followed his copy that each new plate had a crack right down the middle. . . . If we imitate even the best of men we are bound to follow some of their imperfections.—Rev. Purnell Bailey, "Bread of Life," Grit


When Benjamin Franklin wished to interest the people of Philadelphia in street lighting, he didn't try to persuade them by talking about it; instead, he hung a beautiful lantern on a long bracket before his own door Then he kept the glass brightly polished, and carefully and religiously lit the wick every evening at the approach of dusk. Thus recounts Cole D. Robinson in World Horizons.

People wandering about on the dark street saw Franklin's light a long way off and came under the influence of its friendly glow with grateful hearts. To each one it seemed to say: "Come along, my friend! Here is a safe place to walk. See that cobblestone sticking up? Don't stumble over it! Good-bye! I shall be here to help you again tomorrow night, if you should come this way."

It wasn't long before Franklin's neighbors began placing lights in brackets before their homes, and soon the entire city awoke to the value of street lightning and took up the matter with interest and enthusiasm.—Sunshine Magazine


We capture attention, then by what we are. What kind of attention do we wish to capture? Interest, frank approval, enthusiasm? Then there must be in us the qualities that elicit these responses. We might call this the homogenic technique.—Harry Overstreet


We fool no one if our philosophy is, "Do as I say, not as I do." Long before he begins to function as an educator, a teacher should resolve to live in harmony with standards set by the great teachers ... Let us learn what made great teachers great. Let us learn what is to be taught. Let us teach and practice what we teach.—Raymond M. Case, Elk Grove, California, Phi Delta Kappan


It is what people are that gets across, not what they try to inculcate.—Joanna C. Colcord


Just attention is not enough. The teacher desires to secure her own kind of attention. Like begets like. This teachers and parents must know well.


"Mice," said mother, "I wish you and Billy would quit quarreling." Imagine her surprise when Alice said: "Mother, we're not quarreling. We're playing Ma and Pa."


His little arms crept 'round my neck
And then I heard him say
Four simple words I shan't forget—
Four words that made me pray .. .
They turned a mirror on my soul,
On secrets no one knew.
They startled me, I hear them yet;
He said, "I'll be like you."—Herbert Parker, Fredericksburg, Va.

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