6-Week Series: Against All Odds

Sermon Illustrations

I know that most of you who are older recognize the name of Patrick Henry. But I’m afraid that many of our school children do not. Patrick Henry was a famous statesman and orator of colonial Virginia. In 1764 he was elected to the House of Burgesses where he became a champion of the frontier people, supporting their rights against the arrogant exercise of power by the aristocracy. In 1774, he was a delegate to the First Continental Congress. In 1775, before the Virginia Provincial Convention, which was deeply divided between those who supported England & those who desired freedom, he uttered his most famous words, "Give me liberty, or give me death!" During the Revolutionary War, he became commander-in-chief of Virginia’s military forces, a member of the Second Continental Congress, helped draw up the first constitution of the Commonwealth of Virginia, & was largely responsible for drawing up the amendments to our Constitution known as the Bill of Rights. He became Virginia’s first governor. Patrick Henry was reelected 4 times. Then he retired from public life, but despite his strong objections, the people went ahead and reelected him Governor for the fifth time. Nevertheless, he meant what he said, so he refused to take the office. He was offered a seat in the U.S. Senate, & posts as ambassador to Spain and to France. President George Washington asked him to join his cabinet and become Secretary of State, and later wanted to appoint him the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Nevertheless, he refused all such honors and recognitions. Now why do I mention these things about Patrick Henry? It is because I want you to realize that he was an important and respected leader and patriot who feared and loved God Almighty in those days when our nation came into being. Now listen to these words from him. "It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded not by religionists, but by Christians - not on religions, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ." His Last Will & Testament was filed in the Brookneal County courthouse in Virginia. You read his Will and you will see that he bequeathed everything to his children, just as most people do. Nevertheless, the last paragraph in his Will is especially interesting. He wrote, "I have now given everything I own to my children. There is one more thing I wish I could give them & that is Christ. Because if they have everything I gave them and don’t have Christ, they have nothing."