Memory Sermon Illustrations

Memory Sermon Illustrations

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We've often wondered how waitresses could remember the various orders for different meals that they receive day in and day out. And now we know, because while we were getting impatient at our table the other day, we called to the girl: "Waitress, have you forgotten me?"

And, to the amusement of everyone around, she answered pertly, "Oh, no, sir! Indeed not. You're the stuffed tomato!"

A retentive memory may be a good thing, but the ability to forget is the true token of greatness.—Elbert Hubbard

The true art of memory is the art of attention.—Samuel Johnson

A well-trained memory is one that permits you to forget everything that isn't worth remembering.—O. A. Battista

Feats of Memory

1. One Sunday morning, Christmas Evans was given permission to attend the worship service and to hear his master preach. Not for one moment did he get up throughout the service, but sat in the high settle with his head in his hands on his knees. His master thought he was unwell, and as soon as he got home, he made inquiries after the young man. He was informed that Evans had memorized the whole service from beginning to end—including all the hymns, prayers, and sermon, the whole of which he repeated that afternoon to the cattle he was attending. But, led by a senior farm hand and Providence, Mr. Davis overheard the service. There and then he decided that Christmas Evans was called of God to the ministry of the Word. Realizing that the youth had no means or backing of any kind, he offered him six months free tuition in his own grammar school—a boon Wales gave to many others.

How Evans worked at that school! He borrowed as many books as he could because he could not buy them. Once read, he knew them word for word. How much more blessed is it for us to know what God promises: "For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more" (Hebrews 8:12).

2. We speak of blind Tom's memory. Blind Tom, the Negro boy, was a historic case of a photographic mind without much mentality. He could play any piece of music, no matter how difficult, from memory—after hearing it only once. He could repeat speeches in many languages that he had heard, but he made his own thoughts known in grunts. He could play five thousand of the greatest classics in music. What a wonder of remembering was that of this Negro boy, born May 25, 1849—the twenty-first child of a Negro slave woman. As she was being bid on by the slave owner, the auctioneer shouted: "We'll throw in the pickanniny." In less than twenty years, this little pickanniny had created a furor in all parts of the world by playing the piano with miraculous skill. He could play five thousand classics from memory.

3. Thermistocles, with magical memory, is said to have quoted,
unaided, the names of twenty thousand citizens of Athens. Sir Walter Scott is reported as having repeated, with retentive power of recall, a poem of eighty-eight verses, three years after he had heard it said just once.

Cyrus, King of Persia, could call every soldier in his army by name. So says the historian.

What wonders of remembrance these! But wonder of wonders to us is God's forgetfulness of our sins. Thomas Carlyle said that the man who cannot wonder, who does not habitually wonder, though he be president of innumerable royal societies, though he carried "Musicianique Celeste" and the whole of "Hegel's philosophy" and the epitome of all laboratories and all observations with their results in his single head, is but a pair of spectacles behind which there are no eyes. Truly this must be true of all of us who do not wonder—with gratitude—at God's forgetfulness of our sins.

In Greek mythology, we read of a river in hell called Lethe. It's waters were said to cause forgetfulness of the past to all who drank of them. The river of forgetfulness, however, is not in hell, but in heaven. It flows from the very heart of God. "Your sins and iniquities will I remember no more"—no, not even for one minute of all the eternities ahead. God will forget that we ever committed sins.

"No more." There is music in those two words—music sweeter than all the master musicians of earth combined could produce. Moreover, we get joy in remembering some things about us: "For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister" (Hebrews 6:10).

She Never Forgets a Voice

It is reported that the country's greatest voice memory expert some years ago—was Kitty McKeeser—chief telephone operator of King's Features Syndicate of New York City. Her friends say she never forgot a voice although she handled about two thousand calls a day. Such voice memory is exceptional. But there is one voice we should always "know"—regardless of how many voices we are unable to recall. That is the voice of the Good Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ. His sheep know His voice.

And when he putteth forth his own sheep,  he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice  (John 10:4).

He speaks to them through His Word by His Spirit.   What great pleasure and profit it is to know His voice.

In salvation, Jesus says: "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28).

In fellowship, Jesus says: "Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee" (Hebrews 13:5).

In guidance, Jesus says: "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men" (Matthew 4:19).

In tribulation, Jesus said, "Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid" (Matthew 14:27).

In communion, Jesus says: "And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me" (I Corinthians 11:24,25).

In service, Jesus says: "If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour" (John 12:26).

In anticipation, Jesus says: "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also" (John 14:3).

In sorrow, Jesus says: "I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you" (John 14:18).

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