Sermon Illustrations

Karole Shirley Demonstrates Compassion of Christ for Welfare Recipients Who Want to Work

Almighty God - Our Creator - is an expert at taking ordinary people and making them extraordinary individuals - all one has to do is accept His free Plan of Salvation - it’s just that simple!

It is really nice when our boss takes notice of the work that we are doing for him or her - it is even better when the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) raves about our work to the President of the United States of America! The story is told of a young 26-year-old African-American employee, named Karole Shirley, who garnered that kind of attention!

Karole Shirley, the daughter of affluent Milwaukee, Wisconsin parents, began working for Manpower, Inc., in September of 1995 - a temporary services firm that is the nation’s largest private sector employer. Originally hired as a service representative assistant, she became an ardent advocate for welfare recipients who wanted to work! Karole worked in the Milwaukee central office of the firm, which was located in a less-than-ritzy area on the outskirts of the downtown business district. The office had been looking to hire university students; however, Karole took a chance on the area’s "down-and-outers!" As she interacted with men and women - young and old - she saw people struggling to survive - and, that is when something began to stir within her - "I got convicted of the Holy Spirit and I wanted to do something no matter what the consequences," she said!

Along with the corporation’s effective training techniques, Karole Shirley added a personal touch of her own - she spent serious time with each of her clients - helping them develop "soft skills" - the etiquette needed in the business world! She wrote resumes and loaned needy clients money from her own pocket - all activities that ran counter to the corporation’s official policies! At times, she even borrowed money from her parents to cover the personal loans that she made to her clients! She even invited some of her clients to her church - Christian Faith Fellowship - for you see, my brothers and sisters, Karole Shirley was a Christian true believer - and, her compassion paid off - literally!

People started coming in droves to Manpower, Inc., and her office’s net profits rose by 300 percent in one year! She recruited eighty (80) clients from her church congregation alone, where she is lovingly referred to as "Sister Karole" - and, many of her clients gained full-time employment becoming self-sufficient! Karole Shirley worked hard - sometimes from 7:00 am to 3:00 am the next morning - with no overtime pay! Late at night, she would walk around the office and pray for her clients - in point of fact, Karole prayed all the time, asking Almighty God for wisdom! The Old Testament of the Holy Bible - the written Word of Almighty God - tells of the Biblical character, king Solomon, who also asked Almighty God for wisdom - and, look where Almighty God brought him!

Her favorite Holy Scripture verse - our Holy Scripture text, for today, was a constant reminder to her that "all things work together for good to them that love God" - and, Karole Shirley truly loved Him! Her computer screensavers were customized with blended Biblical phrases, such as: "I am more than a conqueror" and "All things are possible" which also helped her to keep focused on Almighty God’s strength! As a result of Karole’s success, Manpower, Inc., will begin opening new offices around the country focusing on inner-city residents! Her new role - along with a well-deserved promotion - is to help market the new locations and form strategic alliances with businesses in the communities! Her Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mitchell Fromstein, told the 42nd President of the United States of America, William Jefferson Clinton (Born: 1946), about her work!

Although many of us do not work in situations where we have the kind of opportunity that Karole Shirley had, we can all love Almighty God through our work! Work is Almighty God’s Will - He wants us to work! Let me say at the very outset - so that there is no misunderstanding - some of us might be disabled - some of us might be unemployed at the present time - some of us might be retired - and, some of us might be sta-at-home parents - all of which are circumstances that prevent us from working in the traditional sense; however, the principles of Almighty God concerning work can still apply to us in many ways!

The Apostle Paul tells the church at Thessalonica and us, in 1 Thessalonians 4:11 (NLT): "This should be your ambition: to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we commanded you before."


1. "Loving With Our Work," sermon by Rev. Dr. Barry L. Davis, found at, used by permission, accessed 29 October 2009.

5. "Today’s Christian," issue of March/April 1998, Karole Shirley "Giving the Gift of Work," by Randy Bishop, accessed 01 November 2009.

From a sermon by George Dillahunty, When Ordinary Becomes Extraordinary!, 11/2/2009

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