Today’s Illustration: Losing Everything And Then . . . . God’s Grace!

Who: Donald “Boone” Gould

  • Donald was a Marine Vet. – honorably discharged
  • Part of the U.S. Marine Corps band during his enlistment.
  • He enrolled at Spring Arbor University to pursue a degree in teaching music.
  • “I took music theory and ear training, and I had to learn how to play every instrument from the piccolo down to the tuba . . . I can write parts like a handbook.”
  • Dropped out in his third year, three credits short of a degree.
  • “We do know substance abuse set Gould on a slow, downward spiral where he literally lost it all; one piece of his life at a time.”  [1]
  • He was married and he and his wife had a son, Donny.
  • He and his wife lost guardianship of their son in 1998, and Social Services removed from their home their three-year-old son
  • Soon after that, Gould’s wife killed herself.

Where: 2015 in Sarasota, Florida

  • The Arts and Cultural Society of Sarasota introduced a program called, The Sarasota Keys Piano Project.  They placed 7 pianos at different locations to encourage young musical artist.
  • One piano was placed on in front of the “Clasico.” “Clasico” was a cafe and bar on the main street in Sarasota.


  • June 25, 2015
  • Donald Gould, age 51
  • Aurore Henry and her son Dylan, of Sussex, Connecticut, were in front of the Clasico.
  • They saw Donald Gould playing the piano and began filming Donald with her phone.
  • Aurore posted her video to her Facebook account.
  • It was “an overnight sensation that changed Gould’s world.” [1]
  • “His beautiful playing of Styx’s, “Come Sail Away” captured the hearts and minds of millions of Facebook and YouTube viewers . . . . It also garnered the attentions of media outlets, including Inside Edition. The Inside Edition crew set Gould up with housing and bought the homeless vet a shave and a haircut. Approximately $40,000 was raised via a GoFundMe account, and Spring Arbor University in Michigan extended an offer of full scholarship so Donald Gould would be able to complete his education.”
  • “On September 15, 2015, Donald “No-More-Boone” Gould played The Star-Spangled Banner in front of 75,000 Monday Night Football fans for the San Francisco 49’ers vs Minnesota Vikings season opener at Levi’s Field.” [1]
  • But for the Grace of God, I am here today,” stated Gould. “I went from playing a piano on the streets of Sarasota three months ago to playing the National Anthem for the 49ers in San Francisco. Not everyone gets the same opportunities that I have. It’s important to me that I do what I can to make things right.” [1]
  • Today, you can go to his website using this link

Key Biblical Thoughts:

  • talent
  • second chance
  • kindness
  • providence
  • the love of God
  • family
  • drugs / alcohol
  • all things work together
  • the grace of God
  • dignity
  • image of God
  • giftedness

Sermonic Example:

 (You can include whatever you find useful)

You read a story like that and you can only think about one thing . . . . How God works providentially in the lives of those who are in desperate situations of life.  As Donald said, “But for the grace of God.” . . . . .

That is the same God of this world, whose family you have been brought into by adoption.  Does he love and care for you any less?  No matter what situation of life you find yourself in, He is there and is orchestrating the events of your life for your good when things have gone so bad.

Other Information & Links:



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