You may never know when you influence someone

Published 5:28 am Tuesday, May 24, 2022

It’s graduation time and many students are looking toward the future with great anticipation.
In the midst of celebrating their academic achievements I hope they will take the time to thank those who helped them accomplish their goals.
The truth is: everyone is influencing someone.
You may not see the results yet, but their influence on you and your influence on them is greater than you realize.
Many years ago, there was a Sunday School teacher named Edward Kimball who was concerned about one of his young students who worked at a shoe store in town.
One day Kimball visited him and found the student in the back, stocking shoes and led him to Christ then and there. The student’s name was Dwight L. Moody. He eventually left the shoe store to become one of the greatest preachers and evangelists of all time.
Moody, whose international speaking took him to the British Isles, preached in a little chapel pastored by a young man with the name of Frederic Brotherton Meyer.
In his sermon, Moody told an emotionally charged story about a Sunday School teacher he had known in Chicago who personally went to every student in his class and led every one of them to Christ.
That message changed F.B. Meyer’s entire ministry, inspiring him to become an evangelist like Moody.
Over the years, Meyer came to America several times to preach.
Once in Northfield, Massachusetts, a confused young man sitting in the back row heard Meyer say, “If you are not willing to give up everything for Christ, are you willing to be made willing?”
That remark led J. Wilbur Chapman to respond to the call of God on his life.
Chapman went on to become one of the most effective evangelists of his time.
A volunteer by the name of Billy Sunday helped set up his crusades and learned how to preach by watching Chapman.
Sunday eventually took over Chapman’s ministry, becoming one of the most dynamic evangelists of the 20th century.
Inspired by a 1924 Billy Sunday crusade in Charlotte, North Carolina, a committee there dedicated themselves to reaching that city for Christ.
They invited the evangelist Mordecai Ham to hold a series of evangelistic meetings in 1932.
A lanky 16-year-old boy sat in the huge crowd one evening, spellbound by the message of the white-haired preacher, who seemed to be shouting and waving his lone finger at him.
Night after night the teenager attended and finally went forward to give his life to Christ.
The teenager’s name?
Billy Graham — the man who has communicated the gospel of Jesus Christ to more people around the world through his televised crusades than any other.
Do you remember how this sequence of events started?
A teacher named Edward Kimball visited one of his students at a shoe store — and in doing that, he changed the world!
Proverbs 22:6 says: “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
Former President, Abraham Lincoln explained it this way: “There is just one way to bring up a child in the way he should go and that is to travel that way yourself.”
Kids pick up on what they see and ultimately follow our example. What kind of example are you setting? Are you ready to go to Heaven?
That’s why I’m thankful for godly teachers like Edward Kimball who give of themselves, their time, and resources weekly in order to pour into their students.
And they don’t do it alone.
School cafeteria workers, bus drivers, custodians, teachers, principals, office workers—we appreciate your sacrifice.
So the next time you feel discouraged or think your life doesn’t matter… think again.
There are many people around you who are being influenced by your actions today.
Who knows?
You could be the next one God uses to change the world!

Rev. Doug Johnson is the senior pastor at Raven Assembly of God in Raven, Virginia.

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