Jump directly to the Content
Jump directly to the Content

Sermon Illustrations

Home > Sermon Illustrations

Dynamite Inventor Confronted by His Own Epitaph

In 1867, Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel invented a new high explosive, which he named "dynamite." He was convinced that his invention would make war too horrible to ever happen again. However, he quickly discovered there was no shortage of buyers for his new explosive. He made a huge fortune from its sales, yet was horrified with the suffering and misery it caused in wars and conflicts. But what was he to do?

Towards the end of the 19th, century he awoke one morning to read his own obituary in the local paper: "Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, who died yesterday, devised a way for more people to be killed in a war than ever before. He died a very rich man."

Actually, it was Alfred's older brother who had died. A newspaper reporter had confused the epitaph. But the account had a profound effect on Alfred. He decided he wanted to be known for something other than developing a means to kill people efficiently, and for amassing a fortune in the process.

As a result, he initiated the Nobel Prize—an award for scientists and writers who foster peace. Nobel said, "Every man ought to have the chance to correct his epitaph in midstream and write a new one."

Related Sermon Illustrations

Pro Soccer Player Made Soccer His God

In his article titled "Professional Soccer Was My God," former pro soccer player Gavin Peacock writes:

I was never going to be tall, so my dad (who was also a pro soccer player) would ...
[Read More]

The Search for God Cannot Wait

George Harrison was the lead guitarist for the Beatles. He embraced Indian culture and helped broaden the scope of popular music through his incorporation of Indian instrumentation ...

[Read More]