Sermon Illustrations

A few years ago Billy Graham was honored in his hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina. Billy Graham is in his eighties and suffering from Parkinson’s disease. He agreed to respond briefly at the end of this great tribute from his hometown. His brother-in-law, Leighton Ford, described his response.

Billy Graham stepped to the podium. He briefly related an incident that had happened in the life of Albert Einstein. This great man, chosen by Time magazine as The Man of the 20th Century, was on a train. The conductor came to punch his ticket. The great scientist became quite flustered as he searched his pockets, his briefcase, and even the floor underneath his seat, to try to find the ticket. He couldn’t find it. The conductor responded, ’Dr. Einstein, we all know who you are. I believe you bought a ticket. Don’t worry about it. I know who you are.’

The conductor continued up the aisle, only to glance back and see the renowned professor down on his hands and knees, looking under the seat, still fumbling with his pockets, frantically trying to find the ticket. The conductor came back and once again assured Dr. Einstein that he knew who he was, saying, ’Don’t worry, I don’t need to see the ticket.’ To which Einstein responded, ’I, too, know who I am. The problem is, I don’t know where I’m going. I need that ticket to remind me.’

With that, Billy Graham concluded by saying, ’See this suit I’m wearing? It’s a brand new suit. It’s a very good suit. My children and my grandchildren are telling me that I’m not keeping my clothing as up-to-date as I used to. So I went out and bought this suit. I don’t know how much longer I’m going to be alive. And, frankly, this is the suit in which I’m going to be buried. Thank you for honoring me this day. The final word I want to leave with you is this: One of these days I’m going to die. When I do, I want you to know, because of Jesus Christ, I not only know who I am, but I know where I’m going. I hope you do too!’ And he sat down."

(- As told by John A. Huffman, Jr., "God’s Promise for When You Confront Death," February 13, 2000, St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Newport Beach, California.)