Sermon Illustrations

George Washington Carver had always dreamed of getting an education. There was one thing standing in his way. He was born black in a country and at a time when whites oppressed black people.

When George Carver reached the age of twenty he was ready to start college. He submitted an application to Highland College and was accepted. However, when George showed up he was turned away once school officals realized he was black.

A few years later he tried again, and this time was accepted to Simpson College.

By all accounts, George excelled in the arts. He was a first rate painter, muscian and poet. One of his works of art even won him first prize at the World’s Fair in Chicago in 1893.

Later he transferred to Iowa State and changed his major from art to agriculture.

Why would he do such a thing when he loved art so much?

James Wilson, formerly the dean of Agriculture at Iowa State, recalled the reason in this statement addressed to George:

"I remember when I first met you, you said you wanted to get an agricultural education so you could help your race. I had never known anything more beautful than that said by a student. I know the taste you have for painting and the success you have made along that line, and I said, ’Why not push your studies along that line to some extent?’ When you replied that that would be of no value to your colored brethren, that also was magnificent."

George Washington Carver went on to receive his degree in agriculture from Iowa State. He stayed on and earned his master’s degree and became the first African American faculty member at Iowa State College.

In April of 1896, Carver recieved an unusual offer from Dr. Booker T. Washington of the Tuskegee Institute.

Dr. Washington wanted Carver to take a teaching position there and become the school’s director of Agriculture?

Washington said, "I cannot offer you money, position, or fame. The first two you have. The last from the position you now occupy you will no doubt achieve. These things I now ask you to give up. I offer you in their place: work...hard, hard work, the task of bringing a people from degradation, poverty and waste to full manhood. Your department exists only on paper and your laboratory will have to be in your head."

Carver could have lived a comfortable life in Iowa. But he gave it up to move to Alabama where he knew he would be treated like a second-class citizen to help serve a greater good, the good of the many.

And this is what Jesus Christ did. He gave up all He had to come and serve the good of humanity by dying on the cross.

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