Gratitude Sermon Illustrations

Gratitude Sermon Illustrations

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Dean Swift thought ill of the education given him by a charitable uncle. "Yes," he once said when asked if his uncle had not educated him, "he gave me the education of a dog."

"And you," replied his interlocutor, "have not the gratitude of a dog."

Like a sudden glow of sunlight appearing through the black clouds at the close of a stormy winter's day is the last act in the tragedy of King Saul. When Saul had fallen on Gilboa's mount, the Philistines cut off his head and stripped the body of armor. Then they sent messengers to all parts of the Philistine country to carry the good news of their victory over the great foe. Saul's body they nailed to the wall of Beth-shan.

At length the tidings came to Jabesh-gilead, away across the Jordan, the town that Saul had saved out of the hand of the Ammonites when first he was made king. No other city in all Israel raised a finger to save the dust of Saul from desecration; but these men of Jabesh-gilead remembered the service Saul had done them years before, when he was himself, and not at war with man and God. In gratitude for that past service these men, taking their lives in their hands, went all night to the Philistine stronghold. They took the body of Saul and the bodies of his sons down from the wall of Bethshan, carried them to Jabesh, and burned them there; then they buried the dust under the tamarisk tree and fasted for seven days.

When General Grant arrived in New York in 1854, after he had resigned under a cloud from the army in California, he was without funds and still far from his Ohio home. In this difficulty he went to call on a West Point friend and comrade in the Mexican War, Simon Bolivar Buckner. Buckner generously supplied him with funds, so that he could reach his home in Ohio. Eight years afterward, when Grant captured Fort Donelson in that great victory in February, 1862, the surrender was made by General Buckner, the other officers having fled.

In a speech delivered at a Grant birthday dinner, Buckner told what happened there at Fort Donelson: "Under these circumstances I surrendered to General Grant. I had at a previous time befriended him, and it has been justly said that he never forgot an act of kindness. I met him on the boat (at the surrender), and he followed me when I went to my quarters. He left the officers of his own army and followed me, with that modest manner peculiar to him, into the shadow, and there he tendered me his purse. It seems to me that in the modesty of his nature he was afraid the light would witness that act of generosity, and sought to hide it from the world."

When Robinson Crusoe was wrecked on his lonely isle he drew up in two columns what he called the evil and the good. He was cast on a desolate island, but still alive—not drowned, as all his ship's company were. He was divided from mankind and banished from human society, but he was not starving. He had no clothes, but he was in a hot climate where he didn't need them. He was without means of defense, but he saw no wild beasts, such as he had seen on the coast of Africa. He had no soul to speak to, but God had sent the ship so near to the shore that he could get out of it all things necessary for his wants. So he concluded that there was not any condition in the world so miserable but there was something negative or something positive to be thankful for in it.

John A. Clarke of Katanga used to tell of an exhausted band of native carriers at the close of a long march, falling so fast asleep around their camp fire that they allowed it to die out. A watching lion saw his opportunity and seized one of the men. His cries awoke the others, and they drove the lion off, leaving the man fearfully mangled. Wrapping him up in a blanket they carried him to the missionary who patched him up as best he could. To the astonishment of all the man made a good recovery, for no bones had been broken. As he left the missionary, he said, 'I will return.'

Long after, a group of Africans appeared at the Mission house. The leader said, `You don't recollect me.' No,' said John A. Clarke. `I am the man you healed at such and such a place,' said the African. `These are my wives and children: they carry my goods. I am yours, you saved my life; these are yours; all I have is yours.'

Such was the response of gratitude for a life saved.

(Ps. 116. 12; 2 Cor. 9. 15)

When gratitude o'erflows the swelling heart,
And breathes in free and uncorrupted praise
For benefits receiv'd: propitious Heaven
Takes such acknowledgement as fragrant incense
And doubles all its blessings.—George Lillo

After O'Connell had obtained the acquittal of a horse-stealer, the thief, in the ecstasy of his gratitude, cried out, "Ooh, counsellor, I've no way here to thank your honor; but I wish't I saw you knocked down in me own parish—wouldn't I bring a faction to the rescue?"

Some people are never satisfied. For example, the prisoner who complained of the literature that the prison angel gave him to read.

"Nutt'n but continued stories," he grumbled. "An I'm to be hung next Tuesday."

It was a very hot day and a picnic had been arranged by the United Society of Lady Vegetarians.

They were comfortably seated, and waiting for the kettle to boil, when, horror of horrors! a savage bull appeared on the scene.

Immediately a wild rush was made for safety, while the raging creature pounded after one lady who, unfortunately, had a red parasol. By great good fortune she nipped over the stile before it could reach her. Then, regaining her breath, she turned round.

"Oh, you ungrateful creature!" she exclaimed. "Here have I been a vegetarian all my life. There's gratitude for you!"

Miss PASSAY—"You have saved my life, young man. How can I repay you? How can I show my gratitude? Are you married?"

YOUNG MAN—"Yes; come and be a cook for us."

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