Sermon Illustrations


In the recent movie, "About Schmidt" 66-year-old Warren Schmidt (Jack Nicholson) has retired from his job as an insurance actuary. He is miserable, and after his wife (June Squibb) suddenly dies, he is also lost. He travels the country in his RV hoping to stop his daughter’s (Hope Davis) marriage and to find purpose to his life. Throughout the movie he writes his personal thoughts to a 6-year-old African child, Ndugu, that he sponsors for $22 a month.

As Warren is traveling back home in his R.V., he begins contemplating the meaninglessness of his life. (He shares he thoughts in letters to his 6 year old foster child).

Voice Over -

"I know we’re all pretty small in the big scheme of things. I suppose the most you can hope for is to make some kind of difference. But what kind of difference have I made? What in the world is better because of me?"

He briefly explains how he failed in trying to stop his daughter from marrying a loser. Then he says, "I’m weak, and I’m a failure. There’s just no getting around it."

He arrives home and picks up a stack of mail. The voice over continues: "Relatively soon I will die. Maybe twenty years. Maybe tomorrow. It doesn’t matter. Once I am dead and everybody who knew me dies too, it will be as though I never existed. What difference has my life made to anyone? None that I can think of. None at all. Hope things are fine with you. Yours truly, Warren Schmidt."

He sees an international envelope and opens it. The voice over changes to the voice of Sister Nadie Guchier (pronounced Goo-chee-ay).

"Dear Mr. Warren Schmidt. My name is Sister Nadie Guchier of the Order of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart. I work in a small village near the town of Enbaya in Tanzania. One of the children I care for is little Ndugu Emu - the boy you sponsor. Ndugu is a very intelligent boy and very loving. He is an orphan. Recently he needed medical attention for an infection of the eye, but he is better now. He loves to eat melon, and he loves to paint. Ndugu and I wanted you to know he receives all your letters. He hopes you are happy in your life and healthy. He thinks of you everyday, and he wants very much your happiness. Ndugu is only six years old...

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