Sermon Illustrations

Many years ago, Bishop McConnell told a story of something that happened in a little fishing village on the New England coast.

One winter’s day a storm came up suddenly while the boats were out at sea. The men rowed desperately to reach the safety of the harbour. Everybody made it except of one old man named John. He had almost reached the mouth of the harbour when a great wave came along and dashed his tiny boat up against a rock. He managed to pull himself up on a tiny ledge and hang there for dear life.

His friends saw what happened. There wasn’t anything they could do about it. It was growing dark, and the seas were high. All they could do was wait. They built a bonfire on the shore and kept it burning all night. Every once in a while, someone would throw his cap up into the air, hoping the old man would see it.

At last dawn began to break and the winds began to die down. They put out their boats and were able to get close enough so they could bring him safely back to shore.

When the old man had been warmed by the fire and had been given something to eat, they asked what it was like out there. “Well,” he said, “it was the longest night of my life. I made out pretty well at first, but then a big wave came along and flattened me out and I felt myself slipping. I was worn out. I was ready to give up. My old father went down at sea, and I had decided my time had come. But just as I was ready to let go, I looked through the darkness and saw somebody’s cap going up in the air. I said to myself, “If there’s somebody who cares enough about old John to stay out on a night like this, I guess I’m not going to quit yet.” Just then the winds seemed to ease up, and I got a fresh hold, and well, here I am.”

That’s the picture. Connect that picture with Aaron and Hur holding up the hands of Moses, and know that that’s a picture of being connected with Lord’s people struggling at the foot of the mount, struggling in the sea of life.