The delightfully quirky magazine Mental Floss ran an article recently about strange ways people motivated themselves. For instance, Richard Wagner, when composing his opera Tannhauser would play parts of the composition to a friend who sat on a stool next to the piano. The friend was his dog, Peps. If Peps responded negatively, Wagner would rewrite. Friedrich Von Schiller composed his poem “Ode to Joy,” making sure he had around him plenty of rotten apples. He believed the smell would inspire him.

Perhaps the most unusual motivator was utilized by Demosthenes. When he wandered from the task at hand, he would shave off half his hair. He knew he looked ridiculous, so would keep working on his task until the hair grew back.


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About The Author

A third generation preacher, Mike Shannon is Professor of Preaching at Cincinnati Bible Seminary of Cincinnati Christian University. He has served as a preaching minister, church planter, and college professor. His most recent preaching ministry was at the historic First Christian Church of Johnson City, Tennessee. In his nearly two decades at Cincinnati Christian University, Mike has served as both professor and Dean of the Seminary. He has also been an adjunct professor at Milligan College and Northern Kentucky University. Mike is the author or co-author of several books.

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Carl Linder, in his early life, had to quit high school to work on his family’s dairy farm. From there, he founded a chain of stores that was a combination of ice cream store and convenience store. He worked hard and eventually owned at one time or another a supermarket chain, bank, insurance company, amusement park, Chiquita Banana and the Cincinnati Reds.

He not only became one of the wealthiest men in America, but also one of the most generous. Many great things in the greater Cincinnati area bear his name. Many of his other acts of kindness were under the radar. He was affectionately known in the community as “Uncle Carl.” Behind all this was a deep commitment to the Christian faith. He died at the age of 92 on Oct. 17, 2011.

Some remember he kept himself motivated by carrying with him a stack of cards with motivational or inspirational sayings printed on them. They helped motivate him, but often he would give some of them away as a blessing to others. He was a testimony to the role of faith, hope and love in the life of a human being.


View more sermon illustrations for inspiration for your next message.

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About The Author

A third generation preacher, Mike Shannon is Professor of Preaching at Cincinnati Bible Seminary of Cincinnati Christian University. He has served as a preaching minister, church planter, and college professor. His most recent preaching ministry was at the historic First Christian Church of Johnson City, Tennessee. In his nearly two decades at Cincinnati Christian University, Mike has served as both professor and Dean of the Seminary. He has also been an adjunct professor at Milligan College and Northern Kentucky University. Mike is the author or co-author of several books.

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