For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. Romans 1:16 (ESV)
As of 2008, Billy Graham’s estimated lifetime audience, including radio and television broadcasts, topped 2.2 billion. That means that approximately 2.2 billion people have heard the gospel from Billy Graham’s mouth!
Billy Graham has shared the gospel with more people than anyone else in history, but do you know who shared the gospel with him?
It actually is a series of events that has been traced over the years and starts out with one volunteer Sunday School teacher.
Here’s the story that hangs in the Billy Graham Library:
It was July 1, 1885 when Edward Kimble felt the tugging of the Spirit to share his faith with a young shoe salesman he knew.
At first Kimble vacillated, unsure if he should talk to the man. But he finally mustered his courage and went into the shoe store. There Kimble found the salesman in the back room stocking shoes, and he began to share his faith with him.
As a result, the young shoe salesman prayed and received Jesus Christ that day. That shoe salesman’s name was Dwight L. Moody, and he became the greatest evangelists of his generation.
But the story doesn’t end there. Several years later a pastor and well-known author by the name of Frederick B. Meyer heard Moody preach. Meyer was so deeply stirred by Moody’s preaching that he himself embarked on a far-reaching evangelistic ministry.
Once when Meyer was preaching, a college student named Wilbur Chapman accepted Christ as a result of his presentation of the gospel. Chapman later employed a baseball player to help him prepare to conduct an evangelistic crusade. That ballplayer, who later became a powerful evangelist himself, was Billy Sunday.
In 1924 a group of businessmen invited Billy Sunday to hold an evangelistic campaign in Charlotte, North Carolina, which resulted in many people coming to Christ. Out of that revival meeting a group of men formed a men’s prayer group to pray for the world. They prayed for Charlotte to have another great revival.
God sent another evangelist named Mordecai Hamm. Hamm went to Charlotte in 1934 to hold a crusade. Ham’s crusade went well, even though it did not have many converts. On one of the last nights under the big tent one tall, lanky young man walked up the aisle to receive Christ. That man’s name was Billy Graham.
Talk about a chain of events! And it all started with an ordinary Christian named Edward Kimble, who reached D.L. Moody, who reached Wilbur Chapman, who reached Billy Sunday, who reached Mordecai Ham, who reached Billy Graham.
Look at what God has done over these many years because of the faithfulness of one person.
Today, it’s our turn. It’s our day to be faithful to God’s call to bring the Gospel to those around us. God is looking for ordinary men, women and young people to step up and be an EDWARD KIMBLE. You can be that person!!!!! This week, pray and ask God to give you the opportunity to have at least one Gospel conversation with someone you come in contact with…that one act of faithfulness may change more than one life!
Keep Fighting The Good Fight,