Sermon Illustrations


The 2000 movie, The Patriot starred Mel Gibson as Benjamin Martin, a reluctant Revolutionary War hero.

Martin has an 18-year-old son named Gabriel who is eager to join the conflict.

Gabriel’s sentiments for his country are revealed by one pastime: throughout the first half of the movie, Gabriel diligently repairs an American flag he found in the dirt.

Tragically, Gabriel becomes a casualty of the war, and, suffering deep loss, his father Benjamin Martin appears ready to quit the cause.

While Martin is grieving at the side of his dead son, Colonel Harry Burwell, a Continental officer, attempts to persuade Martin not to quit.

He recognizes Martin has great influence with the soldiers and his departure would demoralize the troops.

As the scene opens, the colonel says, "Stay the course, Martin. Stay the course."

Grief-stricken, Martin responds, "I’ve run the course."

Resigned to the outcome, the colonel informs the troops and they ride on, leaving Martin behind.

As Martin loads his son’s personal effects on his horse, though, he finds the American flag Gabriel had successfully restored.

As the dejected soldiers ride away, certain they have seen the last of Benjamin Martin, Martin appears in the distance, carrying the flag.

With determination in his posture, he rides upright in his saddle, face like flint, the Stars and Stripes whipping in the wind.

Martin has been a symbol of perseverance for the men, and there is a triumphant shout of both relief and excitement from the once-weary troops as they see the patriot crest the hill.

Whether leaders at home, school, work or church, we must never underestimate the power of our influence to demoralize or to rally others.

People are watching. Soldiers look to officers.

Children look to parents.

We must stay the course.

["The Patriot": Perseverance despite Heartbreak, Citation: The Patriot, rated R, Columbia Pictures, Centropolis Entertainment; Executive Producers, William Fay, Ute Emmerich, Roland Emmerich; submitted by David Slagle, Lawrenceville, Georgia]

(Elapsed time: 2:13:09 to 2:15:50; Content: The Patriot is rated R for graphic violence. There is no nudity. )

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