Sermon Illustrations

Lifebelt Inspected by Mother Saves Son

During World War II, Signalman 3rd Class Elgin Staples, was swept overboard in the wee hours of the morning when the Astoria’s gun turret exploded. Fortunately, he had been able to activate the narrow lifebelt. He was pulled from the ocean four hours later, but his ship sank, and he was back in the water. This time it was 6 hours before 500 survivors, including Staples, were rescued by the crew of the USS President Jackson.

Safely on land, Staples paid attention to every detail of that lifebelt and noticed that it was made by Firestone Tire and Rubber Company of Akron, Ohio, and bore a registration number. His mother worked for Firestone. When he returned home, he told his mother the story and told her the number stamped onto the lifebelt. His mother was stunned because the number was actually her personal inspection number certifying the lifebelt. (Gary LaFerla, finding Your Way: A Guide to Discovering God’s Best for Your Life, (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2005), 186-87. in Ravi Zacharias, The Grand Weaver: How God Shapes us Though the Events of our Lives, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2007), 27-8.

From a sermon by Tommy Burrus, Groundbreaking, 10/18/2009

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