For Such a Time As This
You’ve probably never heard of Edward Kimble. He was just a humble Sunday school teacher 130 years ago when he felt God tugging at his heart, prompting him to share the gospel with a young man he knew.
After some hesitation, Kimble mustered up some courage and walked into the shoe store where the young man worked. He made his way to the storeroom in the back and told his friend about Jesus. The young man prayed to receive Christ that very afternoon. That young man’s name was Dwight L. Moody, and he became the most successful evangelist of his generation.
But that’s not the end of the story.
Several years later, a well-known pastor named F.B. Meyer heard Moody preach and was inspired to begin an evangelistic ministry of his own. During one of Meyer’s meetings, a man name Wilbur Chapman came forward to surrender his life to Jesus. He too became an evangelist.
As he began his ministry with a series of meetings, Chapman sought out a professional baseball player to help draw a crowd. The baseball player he found was Billy Sunday. Sunday saw Chapman share the gospel night after night and got hooked. He felt God’s calling upon his life and began preaching his own evangelistic crusades.
In 1924, Billy Sunday came to Charlotte, North Carolina, for an evangelistic event, and when it was all over, a group of men decided they would continue meeting to pray for their city and the world. They wanted to see God bring a revival. Ten years after Billy Sunday came, God sent a man named Mordecai Ham to Charlotte.
At first, it seemed Ham’s meetings weren’t making much of an impact. Few people came forward to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. But then, on the last night of the crusade, a tall, gangly young farm boy stepped forward. It was Billy Graham.
Billy Graham has now preached the gospel to more people in person around the world than anyone else in history—more than 215 million! And of course, there are the hundreds of millions more he’s reached through radio, television, and the Internet. And it all started with a Sunday school teacher walking into a shoe store.
So is Edward Kimble responsible for the countless millions who know Christ today because of the ministries of D.L. Moody, Billy Sunday, Billy Graham, and the rest? I don’t think so. Only God can save sinners. Edward Kimble was only His chosen instrument to get the ball rolling; he was in a unique position of influence at just the right time.
The Bible tells of another person placed in a unique position of influence at just the right time. In ancient Persia, a plot had been hatched to destroy the Jewish people living there. The king had been manipulated into issuing an edict “to destroy, to kill, and to annihilate all Jews, young and old, women and children, in one day” (Esther 3:13). But God had been working behind the scenes.
He raised up Esther, a young Jewish girl, out of obscurity and into the palace, making her queen over all of Medo-Persia. Still, even with her position, it was against the law to approach the king without an invitation. Esther would be putting her own life on the line to speak out against the sinister scheme. But Queen Esther had eternal perspective.
She knew it was much more important to be on God’s side than on the “safe” side. The same was true of Edward Kimble. It would have been safer and easier to just walk by the shoe store that afternoon. Should Kimble have resisted the Holy Spirit’s prompting, I have no doubt that God would have raised up someone else (see Esther 4:14). But then Edward Kimble would have missed out on what God was about to do.
No matter where God has placed you today, you can be a part of the kingdom-building project He’s undertaken. Listen to His calling, whether it seems big or small. You are in a unique position of influence at just the right time.
Written by John Greco