Sermon Illustrations

THE NOBEL STORY

In 1866, Alfred Nobel invented dynamite and built up companies and laboratories in more than 20 countries all over the world. In the process, he amassed a considerable fortune. When Nobel’s brother died, the newspaper made a mistake and ran an obituary for Alfred Nobel. In the obituary they stated that he was known for creating the most destructive force known to mankind: dynamite. When Nobel read the obituary, he decided that he didn’t want his family name remembered for destruction.

While science had built the foundation for Nobel’s own activities as a technological researcher and inventor, efforts to promote peace had always been close to his heart. As a result he began thinking about giving away his fortune as a means to recognize those that have made significant contributions in physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature and peace.

On November 27, 1895, Nobel signed his final will and testament at the Swedish-Norwegian Club in Paris. When Nobel died on December 10, 1896, it was discovered that according to his will, his vast wealth was to be used for five prizes, including one for peace. The prize for peace was to be awarded to the person who "shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding of peace congresses." Just before his death, he confided in a friend, "I want to be remembered for peace, not destruction."

What will your obituary say? Or, to put it another way, how will your life be summed up?

(From a sermon by Tim Huie, "Playing the Fool" 1/23/2009)

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