In the city of Hanover is a graveyard which has been closed for a number of years—the Garden Churchyard. Owing to its antiquated monuments and the fact of its being the resting place of a number of celebrated characters, it awakens the liveliest curiosity. A few paces east of the unassuming little church in the graveyard is a monument tottering from its foundation. It is built in the form of steps, and the massive stones are secured by heavy iron clasps. The monument was erected in the year 1782.
When the Cornerstone Bank in Waco, Nebraska, was robbed of some $6,000 in November of 2012, the bank employees were able to give the police a fairly good description of the teenage girl who pulled off the crime and the car in which she escaped. As it turned out, the investigators didn’t really need those descriptions, because the thief recorded a YouTube video titled “Chick bank robber” boasting of her criminal prowess.
Just five days after accepting the position as head coach of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team in December of 2001, George O’Leary resigned in disgrace. An investigation had revealed that more than twenty years before he had included false claims on his resume, including saying that he had lettered in football when he was not even on the team and that he had a master’s degree which he had not earned. The lies had not been discovered at any of his previous coaching jobs, but the high profile accorded the position of coach at Notre Dame led to his exposure.
One of Aesop’s fables concerned a turtle who envied the ducks who swam in the pond where he lived. As he listened to them describe the wonders of the world they had seen, he was filled with a great desire to travel. But being a turtle, he was unable to travel far. Finally two ducks offered to help him. One of the ducks said, “We will each hold an end of a stick in our mouths. You hold the stick in the middle in your mouth, and we will carry you through the air so that you can see what we see when we fly. But be quiet or you will be sorry.”
Lenny Skutnik had no intention of being a hero that day. The staffer at the Congressional Budget Office in Washington was having an ordinary winter day when Air Florida Flight 90 crashed into the 14th Street Bridge over the Potomac River shortly after takeoff. Those who survived the crash faced death as the plane sank in the icy waters.
In the washroom of a place of business in London, British newspaper publisher William Beaverbrook happened to meet Edward Heath, a young member of Parliament, about whom Beverbrook had printed an insulting article a few days earlier. “My dear chap,” said the publisher, embarrassed by the meeting, “I’ve been thinking it over, and I was wrong. Here and now, I wish to apologize.”
“Very well,” grunted Heath, “but the next time, I wish you’d insult me in the washroom and apologize in your newspaper.”
Source: The Little Brown Book of Anecdotes, Clifton Fadiman
King Canute ruled over Denmark, Norway, and England more than one thousand years ago. A wise ruler, he worked diligently to make the lives of his subjects better. As is often the case, he was surrounded by those who sought to gain influence and prominence with him, and according to the ancient story, he grew tired of their continual flattery and determined to put an end to it. He ordered that his throne be carried out to the seashore and gathered his courtiers about it.
The story is told of two women in Shanghai who were discussing the topic of pride and began to wonder if Hudson Taylor was ever tempted to be prideful because of his many accomplishments. One of the women decided to ask Taylor’s wife, Maria, about it. Maria promised the woman that she would find out. When Mrs. Taylor asked her husband if he was ever tempted to be proud, he was surprised. “Proud about what?” he asked. “About all of the things you have done,” his wife explained. Taylor responded, “I never knew I had done anything.”
During Mahatma Gandhi’s student days he read the Gospels and thought that maybe he had found the cure to the caste system of India. He decided to go to church and ask the minister how to become a Christian. However, when he entered the building the usher refused to give him a seat, and suggested that he should worship with his own people.
Gandhi left the church and never returned. He said to himself, “If Christians have caste differences also, I might as well remain a Hindu.”
Source: The Speaker's Quote Book, Roy B. Zuck
Ronald Reagan, told the following story: “I once addressed a very large, distinguished audience in Mexico City and sat down to rather scattered and unenthusiastic applause. And I was somewhat embarrassed, even more so when the next man who spoke, a representative of the Mexican government speaking in Spanish, which I don’t understand, was being interrupted virtually every other line with the most enthusiastic kind of applause.
A self-righteous man once boasted to a Christian friend of his, “You know, John, I’m not such a bad fellow. There are many worse than I!” His friend replied, “Ivor, you are measuring yourself by the wrong standard. You measure yourself by the harlots and drunkards you see on Skid Row and you feel quite satisfied by comparison. But go and measure yourself alongside Jesus Christ and see how you make out.” No person’s life cuts much of a figure when placed alongside the perfect life of Christ. The life of the Lord Jesus shows us how crooked and defiled our own lives really are.
During the Battle of Spotsylvania in the Civil War, Union general John Sedgwick was inspecting his troops. At one point he came to a parapet, over which he gazed out in the direction of the enemy. His officers suggested that this was unwise and perhaps he ought to duck while passing the parapet. “Nonsense,” snapped the general. “They couldn’t hit an elephant at this distance.” As the words left his mouth, Sedgwick fell to the ground, mortally wounded.
In Muhammad Ali’s heyday as the heavy weight champion in boxing, he had taken his seat on a 747 which was starting to taxi down the runway for take off. The flight attendant walked by and noticed Ali did not have on his seatbelt, and said, “Please fasten your seatbelt, sir.”
He looked up proudly and snapped, “Superman don’t need no seatbelt.”
Without hesitation she stared at him and said, “Superman don’t need no plane.”
Source: Tony Evan’s Book of Illustrations, Tony Evans
Who can ever forget Winston Churchill’s immortal words: “We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, and we shall fight in the hills.” It sounds exactly like our family vacation.
A turtle once wanted to spend the winter in Florida, but he knew he could never walk that far. He convinced a couple of geese to help him, each taking one end of a piece of rope, while he clamped his vise-like jaws in the center.
The flight went fine until someone on the ground looked up in admiration and asked, “Who in the world thought of that?”
Unable to resist the chance to take credit, the turtle opened his mouth to shout, “I did.”
“Don’t be guilty of comparing your accomplishments or performances with those of any other preacher. To do so is to lessen your own effectiveness and frustrate the grace of God. You are you, and to attempt to become more is to become less.”—Dr. Raymond Barber
Source: Profile of a Preacher, Dr. Raymond Barber
Timothy McVeigh was executed for bombing the federal building in Oklahoma. He did not speak any final words, but he did have a handwritten statement distributed at his execution which included portions of the poem Invictus.
“It matters not how straight the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.”
Pride keeps the sinner from acknowledging he is wrong.
Source: Encyclopedia of Terrorism, Harvey Kushner
There was an authority-hungry sergeant in the Air Force. This man made sure everyone understood he was the boss. Ironically, he ran across a subordinate who put the egomaniac in his place. The sergeant screamed the following to an airman third class: “You have one stripe on your arm, and I have four. That makes you nothing! So when I bark, I expect you to move. Because I’m in charge!” The unimpressed airman replied, “Big deal. A sergeant in charge of nothing.”