Jump directly to the Content
Jump directly to the Content

Sermon Illustrations

Home > Sermon Illustrations

The Seedbed of Elon Musk's Imagination

Joshua Haldeman grew up on the prairies of Saskatchewan. When the domino effect of the Great Depression hit Canada, Haldeman lost his five-thousand-acre farm and had to start from scratch. He tried his hand at chiropractic medicine and politics. Then Haldeman discovered his passion—flying airplanes.

In 1950, Haldeman uprooted his family and moved halfway around the world to South Africa, a place he had never even been to before! With the help of his wife, Winnifred, and their children, he disassem­bled his 1948 single-engine airplane. The airplane was packed into crates, shipped to South Africa, and reassembled by the family once it got there.

A few years later, Joshua and Winnifred Haldeman embarked on a thirty-thousand-mile round-trip flight from Africa to Australia and back. They are believed to be the only private pilots to have ever made that flight in a single-engine airplane. As a comparison point, Charles Lindbergh's legendary transatlantic flight in 1927 was only 3,600 miles. Twenty-seven years later, the Haldemans flew more than eight times as far!

Few people have heard of Joshua and Winnifred Haldeman, but I bet you've heard of their grandson Elon Musk. Musk's entrepreneurial exploits are well documented. He has turned the automotive and aero­space industries upside down. At SpaceX headquarters, there are two giant posters of Mars. One shows a cold, barren planet. The other looks a lot like Earth. The second poster represents Musk's life purpose—colonizing Mars.

How does someone even conceptualize colonizing a planet, in the non-science-fiction sense? Dreams are not conceived in a vacuum. One of Musk's biographers noted, "Throughout his child­hood. Elon heard many stories about his grandfather's exploits and sat through countless slide shows that documented his travels.” Those stories were the seedbed of Musk's imagination. Those stories were the shoulders he stood on.


Excerpted from Win the Day: 7 Daily Habits to Help You Stress Less & Accomplish More Copyright © 2020 by Mark Batterson, pages 24-25. Used by permission of Multnomah, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

Related Sermon Illustrations

U.S. Relay Teams Failed to Pass the Baton

It's the sound no relay runner wants to hear: Ping. Ping. Ping. At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the United States men's and women's 4x100-meter relay teams dropped batons—and heard ...

[Read More]

Parents' Gift to Their Son: Two Message Stones

I grew up in a China that had been ravaged by two centuries of European and American adventuring, and then by World War II and a brutal civil war. We lived in Nanjing, which was then ...

[Read More]