We rarely hear the results of us serving Jesus in some way. Not all of us are called to serve Him in spectacular ways, or travel to the far ends of the earth to share the Gospel. But we’re called to serve Him where we are, with the gifts He’s given us, and to use every opportunity to do this. We need to leave the results to Him, and there will be results (Isaiah 55:11). I hope the following will encourage you.
Have you ever heard of Edward Kimball? Probably not, very few have. Kimball was a Sunday school teacher who not only prayed for the more difficult boys in his class, but also sought to win each one to the Lord. One young man, in particular, didn’t seem to understand what the gospel was about, so Kimball went to the shoe store, where he was stocking shelves, and confronted him in the stock room with the importance of knowing Jesus Christ personally. That young man was Dwight L. Moody. In the stockroom on that Saturday, he was born again. In his lifetime, Moody touched two continents for God, with thousands declaring Jesus as their Saviour through his ministry.
Fantastic! Yet, the story doesn’t end there. Under Moody, another man’s heart was touched for God, Wilbur Chapman. Chapman became the evangelist who preached to thousands. One day, a professional baseball player had a day off and attended one of Chapman’s meetings, and Billy Sunday got saved.
Billy Sunday quit baseball, and became part of Chapman’s team, before eventually starting his own evangelistic crusades. Through him another young man was converted, whose name was Mordecai Ham. He was a scholarly, dignified gentleman, but wasn’t above renting a hearse and parading it through the streets, advertising his meetings. When Ham came to Charlotte, North Carolina, a sandy-haired, lanky, young high school student, called Billy Frank by his family, vowed not to hear him preach. However, when other local students decided to try and interrupt the meetings of Mordecai Ham, Billy Frank was interested, and decided to go along and see what would happen. That night Billy Frank went and was intrigued by what he heard. Returning another night, he responded to the invitation and was saved. Billy Frank eventually became known as Billy Graham, the evangelist who preached to more people than any other person who ever lived, including the Apostle Paul.
This fascinating chain of events was triggered by one Sunday school teacher’s concern for his boys.
If you’re like a lot of Christians, you’ve served the Lord in some capacity and probably wondered at times if your small efforts were really making a difference. Perhaps you’ve even thought about quitting, because you didn’t think there was much point. Maybe nobody was taking any notice. Perhaps you were, or are, feeling tired and discouraged. Next time you’re tempted to give up, please remember Edward Kimball, whose persistence and faithfulness was tremendously honoured by the Lord. The story would have looked very differently if Edward Kimball hadn’t bothered to take that Saturday to seek out young Dwight Moody, to make that extra effort, and to persevere in the face of little encouragement.
There’s an old saying I’ve just come across that fits in well here, ‘you can count the apples on a tree, but only God knows how many apples are in a single seed’. When you get to glory, you may well be astonished at the number of people who are there because you were faithful and never gave up. Salvation is the gift that goes on giving!
Prayer: Oh Lord, thank You for the encouragement of Edward Kimball, a man hardly anyone remembers, yet his faithfulness and perseverance did not go to waste in Your economy. Today I turn to You afresh and consecrate all I do and all I am to Your service. I want to be able to truthfully say “I have done what I could”. I leave the rest to You, knowing nothing I do in Your service (no matter how small) is ever wasted. Amen.
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