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The Best Sermons Are Real Life Stories

By Jack Levine

I strongly believe that some the best sermons are true stories that teach us important life lessons. These vignettes were sent to me by a dear friend who says they are based on true incidences submitted to a call for spiritual lessons by a spiritual organization some years ago.  Their messages are universal and span the ages and stages of life.

  • I interviewed my grandmother for a research paper for my psychology class. When I asked her to define success in her own words, she said, “Success is when you look back at your life and the most treasured memories are the ones that make you smile.”
  • I asked a very successful business man in his 70’s for his top three success tips . He paused for a second and said, “Read something no one else is reading, think something no one else is thinking, and do something no one else is doing.”
  • After I served a 72-hour shift at the fire station I stopped into a grocery store for a few items. A woman ran up to me and gave me a hug. When I tensed up, she realized I didn’t recognize her. She let go with tears of joy in her eyes and the most sincere smile and said, “I will never forget your face….on 9-11-2001 you carried me out of the World Trade Center.”
  • After I watched my dog get hit by a car, I sat on the side of the road holding him and crying. And just before he gasped his last breath, he licked the tears off my face. 
  • At 7AM, I woke up feeling ill, but because I need the money, I went into work. At 3:00 that afternoon I got laid off. On my drive home I got a flat tire. When I went into the trunk for the spare, it was flat, too. A polite man in a new car pulled over, and politely asked if I needed a ride. I trusted him and accepted the offer, we chatted, and then after hearing about my office skills he offered me a job in his company. I start next week. 
  • As my father, three brothers, and two sisters stood around my mother’s hospital bed, my mother uttered her last coherent words before she slipped into a final coma. She simply said, “I feel so loved right now. I wish we would have gotten together more often to say how we feel about each other.”
  • I kissed my dad on the forehead as he passed away in a hospital bed in a Veteran’s Hospital. About five seconds after he passed, I realized it was the first time I had given him a kiss since I was a little boy.
  • In the cutest voice, my 8-year-old daughter asked me to remember to recycle. I chuckled and asked, “Why?” She replied, “So you can help me save the planet.” I chuckled again and asked, “And why do you want to save the planet?” “Because that’s where I plan to keep my stuff and then give it all to my kids,” she said.
  • I witnessed a 27-year-old breast cancer patient laughing hysterically at her 2-year-old daughter’s antics, I suddenly realized that I need to stop complaining about my life and start celebrating it again. 
  • A young man in a wheelchair saw me desperately struggling on crutches with my broken leg and offered to carry my backpack and books for me on his lap. He helped me all the way across campus to my class and as he was leaving he said, “I hope you feel better soon.” 
  • I was feeling down because the results of a biopsy came back malignant. When I got home, I opened an e-mail that said, “Thinking of you today. If you need me, I’m a phone call away.” It was from a high school friend I hadn’t seen in 10 years. I felt my healing process had begun.
  • I was walking through a depressed area of a large city and met a street beggar who said he hadn’t eaten anything in two days. He looked extremely thin, haggard and grossly unhealthy. I asked him to wait a minute, I slipped inside a convenience store and bought him two packaged sandwiches. The man looked my in the eye saying, “Thanks….I’ll just eat one. I know another guy around the corner who is in real bad shape and I’ll give this extra one with him.” 

The best sermons are lived, not just preached.  Perhaps we spend too much time focusing on the problems instead creating the solutions.

We don’t control much except our attitudes. Our responses to life’s events include putting our life’s lessons to work.

SermonsJack Levine, Founder
4Generations Institute


850.567.5252 (mobile/voicemail)
P.O. Box 1227 Tallahassee, FL 32302

The Advocate’s Credo:
Thou art my child, my parent, and my elder,
I love thee best,
But could not love thee half as much,
Loved I not all the rest.


Christine Crosby

About the author

Christine is the co-founder and editorial director for GRAND Magazine. She is the grandmother of five and great-grandmom (aka Grandmere) to one. She makes her home in St. Petersburg, Florida.

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