I bet you’ve never heard of Edward Kimball. Kimball was a Sunday school teacher who not only prayed for often rowdy 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 a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. That young man was Dwight L. Moody. In the stockroom on that Saturday, he received Jesus Christ as his Savior. In his lifetime, Moody touched two continents for God, with untold thousands coming to faith in Jesus Christ.
But the story doesn’t end there. One of the people Moody led to Jesus was a man named Wilbur Chapman. Chapman would also go on to become an evangelist who preached to thousands. One day, a professional baseball player had a day off and attended one of Chapman’s meetings, and that day, Billy Sunday was converted.
Sunday quit baseball and became part of Chapman’s team. Later, when Chapman accepted the pastorate of a church, Billy Sunday began doing his own evangelistic crusades. He was one of the most widely known evangelists in America, and thousands came to Christ through his ministry. One young man who was converted was a man named Mordecai Ham, who in turn became a traveling preacher himself.
At one of Ham’s evangelistic crusades in Charlotte, North Carolina, a talk, lanky high school student came to a couple of the meetings, and finally repented of his sins and turned to faith in Christ. That young man was Billy Graham, who would go on to preach the gospel to an estimated 2.2 billion people around the world in his lifetime.
So Edward Kimball was the man who reached Dwight L. Moody, who reached Wilbur Chapman, who reached Billy Sunday, who reached Mordecai Ham who reached Billy Graham…who has reached tens of thousands more for Christ in our generation.
Which brings us to this week’s Vacation Bible School at Shelby Crossings. I wonder, how many boys and girls will hear the gospel for the first time next week? How many will we have the blessed privilege to lead to faith in Christ? How many will make decisions that will change the course of their lives, and those in generations to come, if the Lord tarries?
Even further, how much of a difference for the Kingdom will those boys and girls make over the next 70 years? As each walk by faith, some will start new churches, take the gospel to foreign lands, feed the hungry, care for orphans and widows, lead their families in Christ-like love, and on and on. Just imagine…try to imagine…what kind of impact each one can make as they are transformed by the power of the gospel.
To those many volunteers who will be putting in long hours working in VBS next week: know that you are not just babysitting, or teaching same ol’ same ol’ Bible stories, or herding kids from station to station. You are a vital link in a chain that is touching eternity. And only eternity will tell the kind of impact that is made through your selfless service this week.
To those who are reaching out to unchurched neighbors to invite children to come to our VBS, so that we can teach them and love on them in the name of Christ: recognize that God just may be placing you as a link in a chain to reach a child who positively affects our world for Christ’s sake for generations to come. Simply because you cared enough, and were obedient enough, to invite them.
To those who are praying–for the children and their families, for all our VBS workers, and even for the weather: do so with the expectancy that God desires to do things next week that will impact eternity, so that boys and girls (and youth and adults too) will never be the same.
I can’t wait to see what He is going to do in our lives this week as we are available to Him. I’m praying for you, and I look forward to seeing you on Sunday…and all week next week!