REPUTATION Sermon Illustrations

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REPUTATION


Sermon Illustrations

REPUTATION

In his book, I Almost Missed The Sunset, Bill Gaither writes:

Gloria and I had been married a couple of years. We were teaching school in Alexandria, Indiana, where I had grown up, and we wanted a piece of land where we could build a house. I noticed the parcel south of town where cattle grazed, and I learned it belonged to a 92-year-old retired banked named Mr. Yule. He owned a lot of land in the area, and word was he would sell none of it. He gave the same speech to everyone who inquired: "I promised the farmers they could use it for their cattle."

Gloria and I visited him at the bank. Although he was retired, he spent a couple of hours each morning in his office. He looked at us over the top of his bifocals.

I introduced myself and told him we were interested in a piece of his land. "Not selling," he said pleasantly. "Promised it to a farmer for grazing."

"I know, but we teach school here and thought maybe you'd be interested in selling it to someone planning to settle in the area."

He pursed his lips and stared at me. "What'd you say your name was?"

"Gaither. Bill Gaither."

"Hmmm. Any relation to Grover Gaither?"

"Yes, sir. He was my granddad."

Mr. Yule put down his paper and removed his glasses. "Interesting. Grover Gaither was the best worker I ever had on my farm. Full day's work for a day's pay. So honest. What'd you say you wanted?"

I told him again.

"Let me do some thinking on it, then come back and see me."

I came back within the week, and Mr. Yule told me he had had the property appraised. I held my breath. "How does $3,800 sound? Would that be okay?"

If that was per acre, I would have to come up with nearly $60,000! "$3,800?" I repeated.

"Yup. Fifteen acres for $3,800."

I knew it had to be worth at least three times that. I readily accepted.

Nearly three decades later, my son and I strolled that beautiful, lush property that had once been pasture land. "Benjy" I said, "you've had this wonderful place to grow up through nothing that you've done, but because of the good name of a great-granddad you never met."

"A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold." (Prov. 22:1).

Leadership, Summer 1993, p. 61.


"Each year I don't play I get better!" said Joe Garagiola. "The first year on the banquet trail I was a former ballplayer, the second year I was great, the third year one of baseball's stars, and just last year I was introduced as one of baseball's immortals. The older I get, the more I realize that the worst break I had was playing." 

Quote Magazine.


A company hired a management consultant to appraise the personnel efficiency reports made out by their managers and supervisors. The consultant expected the reports to be dull going, but found to his surprise that they contained a good deal of intentional -- and unintentional -- humor. Here are a few examples...

- This foreman has talents but has kept them well hidden.

- Can express a sentence in two paragraphs any time.

- A quiet, reticent manager. Industrious, tenacious, careful, and neat. I do not wish to have this woman as a member of my department under any circumstances.

- In any change in policy or procedure, he can be relied upon to produce the improbable, hypothetical situation in which the new policy cannot work.

- Needs careful watching since he borders on the brilliant.

- Open to suggestions but never follows them.

- Is keenly analytical, and his highly developed mentality could best be utilized in research and development. He lacks common sense.

- Never makes the same mistake twice but it seems to me he had made them all once. 

Bits & Pieces, November 12, 1992, p. 23-24.


Take Edwin Thomas, for instance. Edwin Thomas Booth, that is. At age fifteen he debuted on the stage playing Tressel to his father's Richard III. Within a few short years he was playing the lead in Shakespearean tragedies throughout the United States and Europe. He was the Olivier of his time. He brought a spirit of tragedy that put him in a class by himself.

Edwin had a younger brother, John, who was also an actor. Although he could not compare with his older brother, he did give a memorable interpretation of Brutus in the 1863 production of Julius Caesar, by the New York Winter Garden Theater. Two years later, he performed his last role in a theater when he jumped from the box of a bloodied President Lincoln to the stage of Ford's Theater. John Wilkes Booth met the end he deserved. But his murderous life placed a stigma over the life of his brother Edwin.

An invisible asterisk now stood beside his name in the minds of the people. He was no longer Edwin Booth the consummate tragedian, but Edwin Booth the brother of the assassin. He retired from the stage to ponder the question why? Edwin Booth's life was a tragic accident simply because of his last name. The sensationalists wouldn't let him separate himself from the crime.

It is interesting to note that he carried a letter with him that could have vindicated him from the sibling attachment to John Wilkes Booth. It was a letter from General Adams Budeau, Chief Secretary to General Ulysses S. Grant, thanking him for a singular act of bravery. It seems that while he was waiting for a train on the platform at Jersey City, a coach he was about to board bolted forward. He turned in time to see that a young boy had slipped from the edge of the pressing crowd into the path of the oncoming train. Without thinking, Edwin raced to the edge of the platform and, linking his leg around a railing, grabbed the boy by the collar. The grateful boy recognized him, but he didn't recognize the boy. It wasn't until he received the letter of thanks that he learned it was Robert Todd Lincoln, the son of his brother's future victim. 

Little House on the Freeway, Tim Kimmel, pp. 105-106.


During the early days of the Salvation Army, William Booth and his associates were bitterly attacked in the press by religious leaders and government leaders alike. Whenever his son, Bramwell, showed Booth a newspaper attack, the General would reply, "Bramwell, fifty years hence it will matter very little indeed how these people treated us; it will matter a great deal how we dealt with the work of God." 

W. Wiersbe, The Wycliffe Handbook of Preaching & Preachers, p. 185.


The kings of Italy and Bohemia both promised safe transport and safe custody to the great pre-Reformation Bohemian reformer, John Hus. Both, however, broke their promises, leading to Hus's martyrdom in 1415. Earlier, Thomas Wentworth had carried a document signed by King Charles I which read, "Upon the word of a king you shall not suffer in life, honour, or fortune." It was not long, however, before Wentworth's death warrant was signed by the same monarch! 

Today in the Word, April, 1989, p. 16.



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