Are We Living Eternal Consequential Lives?
In times of economic uncertainty, we can become more focused than usual on investments and financial security. For this reason it is good to remember in the eternal scheme of things, money is not – or at least should not be – our primary concern. We should avoid feeling casual about eternally important things, such as being available daily to the Spirit of God for His purposes. God loves to work through ordinary people that are available for His use. Here is an example of how God used one “ordinary” person:
A extraordinary chain of events began when an unremarkable man named Edward Kimball offered himself to God. Gripped by a sense of urgency upon learning he had little time left to live, Kimball reached out to young adult men in his Sunday school class. One of them was a shoe clerk, and Kimball led him to faith in Jesus Christ in the back room of the store. That convert 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 had a strong impact on the life of a young pastor, Frederick Meyer, who traveled to the United States and preached in Moody’s school in Massachusetts. Meyer’s message changed the entire ministry of another young preacher named J. Wilbur Chapman, who went on to become one of the most effective evangelists of his time.
Chapman eventually turned his ministry over to a YMCA clerk who had been helping to set up his crusades. Despite having no formal training, Billy Sunday had learned to preach by watching Chapman. He was instrumental in introducing hundreds of thousands to Christ in the early part of the 20th century as he preached in the largest cities across the United States.
In 1924, Sunday conducted a series of meetings in Charlotte, North Carolina. Those meetings eventually led to another citywide evangelist outreach in 1932, led by Mordecai Ham. At that event a young baseball player made a decision to follow Jesus Christ. That 16-year-old was Billy Graham, whom God used for decades to lead millions into faith in Christ. And those millions have led many other millions. This all began because a dying man, seemingly with no future, made himself available to God while there was still time. It is wonderful to know God can use anybody, no matter what our qualifications might be.
Several years ago my wife, Susie, sensed God speaking to her heart: “Since Jesus is coming so soon, wouldn’t you want to give away the essence of the gospel every day if you had the chance?” She replied, “Yes, Lord, I am available for you to do that through me.” She began carrying various little booklets with her everywhere. These booklets explain how a person can have their sins forgiven and receive eternal life, as well as how to experience the joy of a life controlled by God’s Spirit. She has booklets for adults and for children, in English, Spanish and other languages. She gives these to people she meets every day, ranging from workers at the grocery store and the UPS delivery man to children in the lobby of the movie theatre and the nurse who cared for her in the emergency room, and many others.
Because of Susie’s commitment, hundreds of people get a warm smile, an encouraging word, and a little booklet from an ordinary housewife who has made herself available to a great God who is “not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). Who knows what new chain of events will someday be traced back to her simply being available? What about you?
Austin Pryor has more than 30 years of experience advising investors, and is the founder of the Sound Mind Investing newsletter and website.
1. What do you think about the chain of events that started with a virtually unknown man named Edward Kimball and has continued far beyond the life of an internationally known evangelist named Billy Graham?
2. If you were to receive news that you had a very short time to live, how would you like to use the time you had left?
3. Do you agree with the idea that even though we live in a material world with tangible concerns – including our finances and our jobs – we should be intentional about engaging in activities that have eternal consequences? Why or why not?
4. Are you presently involved in things you believe will have eternal ramifications? If so, what are they? And if not, what things could you start doing today that would make a difference, not only during this life but also in the life to come?
NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages: Matthew 5:13-16; Colossians 4:5-6; James 2:14-18; 1 Peter 3:15-16