January Sermon Illustrations

January 11, 2010

A well-known minister once shared his story on how one of his classmates at Yale, also a well-known minister, came to enter the ministry.

When they were students at Yale a great revival broke out, and many were taking a stand for Christ and the Christian life. This one man appeared to be untouched by the sacred influence; he made no profession of faith and showed no interest in the revival. Long after they had both become ministers, his friend asked him how it was that he had gone into the ministry, especially since he was one of the few students who had not been moved by the revival which swept the college when they were at Yale.

His answer was the story of a mother's prayers. He related how he had been greatly affected and moved by the revival, but steeled himself against it, chiefly on the ground that if he yielded and confessed his faith he would likely become a minister. After he left Yale, he went south to Georgia and entered the law office of a noted Southern lawyer. He tried to put out of his mind all thoughts of the Christian life and the Christian ministry. He progressed so well in his law studies, and was so highly thought of, that his employer proposed to take him abroad for a trip, and when they returned to have him enter his office as his partner.

But one day the young lawyer received a letter from his father far off in New England, telling him that his sister and his mother had died, and that when his mother died her last request was that the father should tell their son that she died praying for his conversion. When he got this letter he went out into the pine forest and, sitting down beneath a tree there, fought his lonely battle. The issue was that he determined to confess his faith in Christ and enter the Christian ministry. He gave up his bright career in the law, returned to the divinity school at Yale, and shortly afterward was ordained as a minister. Before he was ordained, however, there was a baptism to be administered in the little church which he was serving. He had a friend, an ordained minister, come over to take that part of the service which he was not yet licensed to perform. As this old man, his friend and a friend of his father and mother, stood before the parents and their babe, he said: "I am thinking today of a scene long ago. I see a handsome man and a beautiful wife coming up the aisle with their babe in the father's arms. As I prepared to ask the questions and administer the sacrament, the mother handed me a card on which was written the name of the child, the date of his birth, and underneath, 'Given to God and to the gospel ministry.' That child," he concluded, "is now your minister."

| More