Sermon Illustrations

February 16, 2010

Many years ago a lad of sixteen left home to seek his fortune. All his worldly possessions were tied up in a bundle. As he trudged along he met an old neighbour, the captain of a canal-boat, and the following conversation took place:

'Well, William, where are you going?'

'I don't know,' he answered. 'Father is too poor to keep me at home any longer, and says I must now make a living for myself.'

'There's no trouble about that,' said the captain. 'Be sure you start right and you'll get along fine.'

William told his friend that the only trade he knew anything about was soap-making, at which he had helped his father while at home.

'Well,' said the old man, 'let me pray with you once more, and give you a little advice, and then I will let you go.' They both knelt down on the tow-path: the dear old man prayed earnestly for William and then gave him this advice:

'Someone will soon be leading soap-maker in New York. It can be you as well as anyone. I hope it may. Be a good man; give the Lord all that belongs to Him of every dollar that you earn; make an honest soap; give a full pound, and I am certain you will yet be a prosperous and rich man.'

When the boy arrived in the city, he found it hard to get work. Lonesome, and far from home, he remembered his mother's words and the last words of the canal-boat captain. He was then led to 'seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness'. He remembered his promise to the old sea-captain, and the first dollar he earned brought up the question of the Lord's part. In the Bible he found that the Jews were commanded to give one tenth; so he said, 'If the Lord will take one tenth, I will give that.' And so he did, and ten cents of every dollar was sacred to the Lord.

Having regular employment he soon became a partner; after a few years his partner died, and William became the sole owner of the business. He now resolved to keep his promise to the old captain; he made an honest soap, gave a full pound, and instructed his book­keeper to open an account with the Lord, carrying one tenth of his income in that account. He prospered. His business grew: his family was blessed: his soap sold, and he grew rich faster than he had ever hoped. He then gave the Lord two-tenths, and prospered more than ever; then he gave three tenths, then four tenths, then five tenths. He educated his family, settled all his plans for life, and thereafter gave the whole of his income to the Lord.

What was the name of this lad? William Colgate! And who has not heard of Colgate's soap?—J. Oswald Sanders

(Ps. 1. 3; Prov. 3. 9, 10)

Subjects: Success

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