An Eternally Consequential Life
- Friday, December 03, 2004
God loves to spread the fame of His name! And he delights in doing it through ordinary people -- if they're available to Him.
Perhaps you've heard of the chain of events that began when an everyday, garden-variety man named Edward Kimball made himself available to God. Gripped by a sense of urgency when he learned he had little time left to live, Kimball reached out to the young men in his Sunday School class. One of them was a young shoe clerk, and Kimball led him to Christ in the back room of the store. That man was D. L. Moody, who became one of the great evangelists of the 19th century.
On a trip to the British Isles, Moody's ministry impacted the life of a young pastor named Frederick Meyer, who later traveled to America and preached in Moody's school in Massachusetts. His message changed the entire ministry of another young preacher named J. Wilbur Chapman. Chapman went on to become one of the most effective evangelists of his time.
He eventually turned his ministry over to a YMCA clerk who had been serving as his advance man to set up his crusades. He had no formal training, but Billy Sunday had learned to preach by watching Chapman. He led hundreds of thousands to Christ in the early part of the 20th century as he preached in the largest cities in the nation.
In 1924, Sunday conducted a series of meetings in Charlotte, North Carolina. Those meetings led to another city-wide evangelist outreach in 1932 led by Mordacai Ham. It was there that a young 16-year old baseball player made a decision to follow Christ. That 16-year old was Billy Graham, whom God has used to lead millions into faith in Christ. And those millions have led other millions. And it began when one person, a dying man who seemed to have no future, made himself available to God to minister through him while there was still time. It's wonderful to know that God can use anybody!
Let me tell you about a dear friend who decided to make herself available to God for a specific task each day. A few years ago during her morning quiet time, she felt the Lord speak to her heart: "Since Jesus is coming so soon, wouldn't you want to give away the essence of the gospel everyday if you had the chance?" She replied, "Yes Lord, I'm available for you to do that through me."
Since then, she carries various little booklets with her. A few are in her purse, others in her car, others at home. Little booklets that explain how to have your sins forgiven and receive eternal life. Little booklets that explain how you can experience the joy of the Spirit-controlled life. Booklets written for adults and booklets written for children. Booklets in English and booklets in Spanish and various other languages. She buys them by the hundreds, and gives them to the people she meets in everyday life...• the checkout women and bag boys at the grocery
• the UPS man who delivers packages to her door
• servers in restaurants and shops
• children in the lobby of the movie theatre
• the man who came to cut down a tree
• the AAA man who helped her with her car
• the girls behind the counter at the dry cleaners
• her Jewish pharmacist and the ladies at the florist
• the plumber who fixed her broken faucet
• the nurse who cared for her in the emergency room
• the rough and tumble man in the pickup truck who wandered into her driveway by mistake.
And on, and on, and on. Hundreds of people getting a warm smile, an encouraging word, and a little booklet from an ordinary housewife who's made herself available to a great God who's "not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance." Who knows what new chain of events will someday be traced back to her simply being available?
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