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Who is Edward Kimball?

July 28, 2015 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Posted in: Evangelism

“Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:58)

This summer, I am preaching through the lives of some minor Biblical characters. Some – like Samson and Caleb – most people have heard of. Others, like Onesimus and Bezalel – many have not. But each life tells a story of the grace of God that points us to the gospel of Jesus Christ. One of my favorite “minor characters” in American history is a man named Edward Kimball. There aren’t many people who could tell you the historical significance of Edward Kimball. After all, he is so un-famous that he doesn’t even have his own Wikipedia page. But through his simple service to God, he has had a worldwide impact.

In 1854, Kimball was a Sunday School teacher in Detroit, and one day he went to visit a 17 year-old boy who was in his Sunday School class who had little interest in God or religion. During his visit with this young man at his job in a shoe shop, he led the boy into a relationship with Christ. That young man was D.L. Moody, who went on to become one of the greatest evangelists in the world, sharing the gospel with 100 million people, as well as founding Moody Bible Institute and The Moody Church in Chicago.

But the story doesn’t end there. Through his ministry, Moody was responsible for a London pastor named F.B. Meyer coming to faith. Meyer was responsible for J. Wilbur Chapman coming to faith, and Chapman influenced Billy Sunday, another prominent evangelist of the 20th century. Billy Sunday was integral in a man named Mordecai Ham coming to faith. And Mordecai Ham was the preacher responsible for leading a young man named Billy Graham to Christ.

And that, my friends, is a spiritual legacy. Edward Kimball’s story reminds us to never underestimate the influence you can have on the world by sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with just one life. At the beginning of this year, I encouraged each person in our church to pray faithfully for three people in their life who do not have a relationship with Jesus. We may be halfway through the year, but the call remains. Pray that God would use you as he used Edward Kimball, to make an eternal impact on this world. Perhaps, like Kimball, it will happen as a result of being involved in the lives of the children or teens of our church. Or maybe it will happen through a relationship at work, school, or in your neighborhood. Wherever your impact may be, may the story of Edward Kimball encourage you to continue to pray and to look for opportunities to share about the salvation found in Jesus Christ.

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