The Extraordinary Power of Faithful, Ordinary People
Don’t ever underestimate the power of an ordinary person to make an extraordinary impact. Consider the story of Edward Kimball, a Boston carpet salesman and Sunday school teacher...
- Edward Kimball (1823-1901), felt compelled to share the gospel with an 18 year old boy who only attended Sunday school out of a promise to his uncle (though he often slept through the lesson). On April 21, 1855, Kimball went to the shoe store where the young man worked, asking him “to come to Christ.” Although Edward felt he’d done a poor job of presenting the gospel, that boy, Dwight L. Moody (1837-1899), left the store that day a changed man, going on to become one of the most prominent evangelists in American history.
- While preaching a crusade in Chicago, Moody counseled a man by the name of J. Wilber Chapman (1859-1918), helping him understand the certainty of his salvation and calling. Chapman himself became a minister and evangelist.
- An ex baseball player named Billy Sunday (1862-1935) worked for a while as Chapman’s assistant, helping organize meetings and eventually becoming an evangelist himself. In 1924, Sunday led a crusade in Charlotte, NC out of which grew an organization of Christian businessmen known as the Charlotte Businessmen’s Club.
- In 1934, the CBMC sponsored another crusade featuring the evangelist, Mordecai Ham (1877-1961). One night, as Ham held an invitation at the end of his message, 16 year old Billy Graham (1918-2018) walked the aisle, placing his faith in Christ.
Amazing, right? It gets better.
Week before last, in morning devotions, a TCA teacher shared that many years ago, her dad was watching TV one night when his show was pre-empted by another program. Although irritated, he left it on that channel. The interrupting show was a Billy Graham crusade, and that night he made Jesus the Lord of his life. He later became a pastor himself, leading countless people to Christ, including TCA Academic Learning Center teacher Kathy Haxel who now carries on a legacy that began in a Boston shoe store 164 years ago.
Psalm 78 is a beautiful, challenging, and convicting picture of the importance of leaving a legacy for generations to come. Our own Kathy Haxel has seen this, and I am grateful
One of my favorite things we do at TCA is our secondary core group program. Each year it is my privilege to conduct leader training, and one activity we always do is have incoming leaders (all juniors and seniors) reflect on their years as underclassmen, and how their past core group leaders impacted them. I kept the notes they wrote, and here are a few of their observations:
- A leader of mine asked for prayer requests and remembered to ask about them at the next meeting.
- My leaders were able to walk me through scripture and help me be a better person.
- Last year, when he got cancer, my core group leader used it to help other people and show us how to be faithful and trust Christ.
- My leaders were able to help me with things I was going through that they had already been through and had advice about.
- Hearing wisdom and advice from older friends inspired me to follow their good examples and their advice.
- He was always at the meetings and never missed.
- He gave us heart-to-heart advice when I had questions about my faith.
- He taught me to trust God and be a good role model. He was a light in my life like I hope to be in the lives of my group.
- My core group leaders always said hi to me in places other than core group time, and I really appreciate that.
- My past core group leaders influenced me as a middle schooler; taught me that popularity isn’t everything. It changed how I acted in HS.
- It was obvious that my core group leader cared about us all the time. She knew when we were upset or needed support, and she was that support.
- My core group leaders took time outside of the allotted core group time to listen to what was going on in my life and offer encouragement and advice.
- My leaders made everyone feel included.
- My core group leader made me feel welcome and accepted not only to the group, but to TCA.
- Last year, my leader came to our volleyball game and after was really sweet and supportive and showed how she really cared.
What a beautiful legacy these students are leaving every day. Please pray for these young men and women as they lead. And remember to lead them as well. In our homes, classrooms, teams, and relationships, may we impact those around us for Christ in ways big and small.
In the words of Mrs. Haxel, “Let’s not be fooled, the Lord’s will, will be done with or without us. But what a wonderful legacy we can have when we choose to be faithful and obedient. We never know just how far the influence will reach. May your day be blessed as we realize how God uses the seemingly small and ordinary to make the greatest and most lasting impact. Everything we do matters!”