Sermon Illustrations

A young man named Robert Robinson had been saved from a very sinful life in the mid 1700s through George Whitfield’s ministry in England. Soon afterward, the 23-year-old Robinson wrote the hymn, “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing.” You may recognize some of the lyrics:

Come thou font of every blessing

Tune my heart to sing thy grace

Streams of mercy never ceasing

Call for songs of loudest praise

But sadly, Robinson later drifted away from those streams he had written about and, like the Prodigal Son, journeyed into the far country of decadence. Then one day he was riding in a stagecoach, sitting next to a young woman who was deeply engrossed in her book. She ran across a verse she thought was beautiful and asked Robinson what he thought of it.

Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it

Prone to leave the God I love.

Bursting into tears, Robinson said, “Madam, I am the poor unhappy man who wrote that hymn many years ago, and I would give a thousand worlds, if I had them, to enjoy the feelings I had then.”

Although greatly surprised, she reassured him that the “streams of mercy” mentioned in his song still flowed. Robinson was deeply touched. Turning his “wandering heart” back to the Lord, he was restored to full fellowship.

— (Kenneth W. Osbeck, 101 Hymn Stories, p. 52)