Posted by: mikenicholsblog | March 11, 2012

eternal significance

Do you ever wonder how much value you add to the lives of those around you? An even more thought-provoking question is… “Am I doing anything that has eternal significance?” We all want to add value and as Christ followers it’s only natural to want to make an eternal impact on others. But the tendency is to focus on our weaknesses, and what we can’t do rather than accepting God’s special design and individual purpose for us. I am writing this article for anyone who has ever had those, “what can I do?” or “am I making any difference?” negative thoughts. Place yourself in Edward Kimball’s position, and realize that God can take your small gestures for Him and multiply them exponentially.

Edward Kimball was a Sunday school teacher from Boston. Read the following story that started with his faithfulness. I am not sure where the writing originated, but the content is simply profound.

Edward taught Sunday school at his church because he felt called to invest himself in the lives of young boys and men. To get to know his students better, he would often visit them during the week where they lived or worked. One Sunday a challenging teenager showed up in his class. The boy was seventeen, a bit rough-hewn, poorly educated, and prone to outbursts of anger and profanity. Edward thought about how he might reach this boy and one day decided to visit him at the shoe store where he worked for his uncle. Kimball passed by the store once, trying to get up the courage to speak to the boy.

What would he say, he wondered, and how would he be received? Finally, he entered and found the boy in the back, wrapping shoes and putting them on the shelves. Edward went to him, simply put his hand on the young man’s shoulder, and mumbled some words about Christ’s love for him. And apparently his timing was just right, because right there in the shoe store, the boy was moved to commit his life to Christ. His name was Dwight L. Moody, and he became the most successful evangelist of the nineteenth century, preaching to an estimated one hundred million people during his lifetime and traveling perhaps a million miles before the time of radio, television, automobiles, and air travel!

But the story gets better! Moody (in 1879) led a young man named F. B. Meyer to Christ, who became a minister. Meyer was instrumental in J. W. Chapman’s conversion to Christ, who later started a ministry to professional baseball players. One of the players, Billy Sunday, started working with J. W. Chapman in his evangelistic efforts. In time, it is said that Billy Sunday became the greatest evangelist of the first two decades of the twentieth century. One of Sunday’s revivals (1920’s) in Charlotte, North Carolina was so powerful that one of Billy Sunday’s associates (who accepted Christ at one of Sunday’s crusades) was asked to come back a few years later to hold a second series of meetings. And wouldn’t you know it; on one of the final nights of the crusade a young teenager came down the aisle to commit his life to Christ. The young man’s name was Billy Graham.

One Sunday school teacher, Edward Kimball, cared enough to step out of his comfort zone and speak to young Mr. Moody. He was simply obeying His Lord. Millions have come to saving faith in Jesus Christ from that obedience. Your obedience may not reach millions, but it will have eternal benefits.  What you can do will make a difference!


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