I was at a Men’s Encounter this past weekend and I heard a song that is TEN YEARS OLD!!! Apparently, I missed it the first time around, but, like all truly great songs, it stands the test of time. I share it with you today, because, in the spirit of the Barnabas Initiative, I want to encourage all of you to not lose heart, to not grow weary in doing well.
Take with you the story of Edward Kimball. By most accounts Kimball was a mild-mannered man. He was no great success in business or industry. But he was a man devoted to his family and his church. A sunday school teacher, he was known for going out into the community to visit his students and their friends in their home, work and school environments. One day in 1854, Kimball paid a visit to a young 17-year-old man named Dwight who was working as a shoe clerk in a local store. Opening with the line, “Hey, I’m worried about you. I want to talk”, the Kimball walked with the young man into the basement of the shoe store. There the Sunday School teacher led the young man to Christ.
This young man, Dwight L. Moody, went on to become one of the greatest evangelists in the history of the world. He is believed to have shared the gospel with over 100 million people in his lifetime alone. In the early 1870’s, Moody was asked to speak at a revival in York, England. There, he influenced a leader of the Higher Life Movement, F.B. Meyer, who, in turn, while speaking at a revival in Northfield, Massachusetts, led a young J. Wilbur Chapman to Christ. Chapman became a very effective evangelists and led meetings where he was assisted by a man named Billy Sunday.
Sunday learned how to preach under the tutelage of Chapman, and eventually took over Chapman’s ministry. While leading a Crusade in Charlotte, NC, a group of Christians dedicated themselves to reaching the lost of their community for Christ. They invited evangelist Mordecai Ham, who held a series of meetings in 1932.
It was at these meetings that a lanky 16-year-old boy walked in and, intrigued by what he heard decided to come back the next night. He came the next night, and the next, and the next… Finally, young Billy Graham responded to the impassioned preaching of that crazy, white-haired preacher and gave his life to Christ. Yes, Billy Graham, who has preached the gospel to more people than any other person in history has a place in the lineage, the legacy of Edward Kimball.
But Edward Kimball is not the person I want to think about. I want to think for a moment about the person who reached out TO Edward Kimball, poured into his life, discipled him, loved him and led him to be the kind of man who would walk into a shoe store to share the love of Christ with one of his students. THAT person’s name is lost to us. But what a great legacy there is. And what about the person who converted that person…. It goes on and on.
What is your legacy, right now! Do you want more? Legacy is not about fame or success. Legacy is about pouring yourself out and into the lives of those you encounter. Legacy is eternal.