Whatever has been written, preached, and lived out before us is for our growth in Christ.
Those who go before us influence us. All handed down…from one to another. One impressing the next for Christ.
Have you ever considered those you have influenced for Jesus? Whether you know it or not, you have a lineage, a succession after you.
You cause a chain of events, an influence, whether negative or positive, for the Gospel.
Probably the most well-known chain of influence is this…
*A Sunday School teacher Edward Kimball helped lead to Christ: Dwight L. Moody
*Converted at a Dwight L. Moody evangelistic meeting: J. Wilbur Chapman
*Also influenced by Moody: F. B. Meyer
*Converted at a Chapman meeting: Billy Sunday
*Converted at a Billy Sunday meeting: Mordecai Ham
*Converted at a Ham meeting: Billy Graham
(I always love reading about Mordecai. I grew up with his grandson, though I don’t recall if I ever met Mordecai or his wife. Would like to think I did.)
How many other Kimballs, Moodys, Chapmans, Sundays, Hams, and Grahams are there today because of their service to the Lord? How many generations are there in families who have handed down the love of Christ?
There’s another timeline that isn’t as well known but is very interesting.
The story goes that, one Sunday morning in church in Scotland, when Robert Moffat (Moffat Bible) was 12 years old, he did a strange thing. After the offering plate was passed, he stepped into it. Yup. On purpose. Which, of course, caused a stir. When asked why by one of the ushers, Moffatt replied, “I’m giving my whole self to Jesus!”
Nine years later, he went to Africa as a missionary. He met his wife there and they served together for years in Cape Town and Botswana. He also translated the Bible into their language.
After twenty years of service, Moffat was tired, weary in soul, and broken in body, so he and his wife went back to Scotland to ask others for help.
But no one offered. He was very disappointed. What he did not know at the time was that the Holy Spirit convicted a young man, who later married the couple’s daughter. That young man’s name was David Livingston.
Dr. Livingston did go to Africa…and led thousands of people to Christ.
When he died, the last entry in his diary stated, “My Jesus, my King, my life, my all. I dedicate my whole life to thee.”
Isn’t that how it should be? Our whole lives dedicated to Christ? Maybe we should all step into the offering plate!
We have that precious message the hurting world needs. We have a Savior…Jesus. Do we love Him enough to let others see what lives lived for Him look like?
However, we may not always see the influence of our sharing and living out the Gospel. That influence is as ripples caused by a flung stone stirring the surface of a whole pond. It spreads out in ever-widening circles, beyond all our knowledge and anticipation.
There’s an old saying, “You can count the apples on the tree, but who can count the apples in a seed?”
We will never know, until we get to heaven, just how many seeds have rippled out because of the influence of our actions, our attitudes, and our words.
Go ahead! Step into that offering plate today and give your whole life to Christ and watch the ripples of influence go out. Plant those seeds!
Be an influence of one! I dare you! 😀