Sermon Illustrations

Norman Vincent Peale wrote this:

"Ralston Young carries bags for a living but his real job is living the spirit of Christ as a porter in one of the world's greatest railway stations.

One day he was asked to take a little old lady to her train.

She was in a wheel chair so he took her down on the elevator.

As he wheeled her into the elevator, he noticed there were tears in her eyes.

Ralston Young stood there as the elevator descended, closed his eyes and asked the Lord how he could help her and the Lord give him an idea.

As he wheeled her off the elevator he said with a smile "Ma'am, if you don't mind me saying so, that is a mighty pretty hat you are wearing."

She looked at him and said "Thank you"

"And may I add" he said "that sure is a pretty dress you have on. I like it so much".

Being a woman this appealed to her, and despite the fact she wasn't feeling well, she brightened up and asked "Why in the world did you say those nice things to me?"

"Well" he said "I saw how unhappy you were. I saw you were crying and I just asked the Lord how I could help you. The Lord said 'Speak to her about the hat'. The mention of the dress he added was my own idea."

"Don't you feel well?" he asked.

"No" she replied "I am constantly in pain". I am never free from it. Sometimes I can't stand it. Do you, by any chance, know what it is like to be in pain all the time?"

Ralston had an answer: "Yes Ma'am, I do for I lost an eye and it hurts like a hot iron day and night."

"But you seem so happy now. How did you accomplish it?"

"Just by prayer ma'am, just by prayer."

She asked "Does prayer, just prayer take the pain away?"

"Well" replied Ralston "perhaps it doesn't always take it away. I can't say it does, but it always helps to overcome it so it doesn't seem like it burns so much. Just keep on praying, ma'am and I'll pray for you too."

Her tears were dried now and she looked up at him with a lovely smile, took him by the hand and said

"You've done me so much good".

A year passed and one night at Grand Central station Ralston Young was paged to come to the Information Booth.

A young woman was there who said: "I bring you a message from the dead. Before she died my mother told me to find you and to tell you how much you helped her last year when she took the train in her wheelchair. She will always remember you, even in eternity. She will remember you for you were so kind and loving and understanding"

Then the young woman burst into tears and sobbed in her grief.

Ralston stood quietly watching her. Then he said "Don't cry missy, don't cry. You shouldn't cry. Give a prayer of thanksgiving".

Surprised the girl said "Why should I give a prayer of thanksgiving?"

"Because" said Ralston "many people have become orphans much younger than you. You had your mother for a long, long time, and besides you still have her. You will see her again......."

Peale concludes by saying:

"Ralston's kindness had the same effect on the daughter as it had on her mother. In this huge station, with thousands of people passing by, the two of them felt the presence of (the) one who inspired this wonderful porter to go around this way, spreading love."

("The Power of Positive Thinking" by Norman Vincent Peale p.84-86).

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