For years the name Billy Graham has been a household word. Say his name to many and visions of stadiums still come. Stadiums where faith-not football-was preached, where thousands responded to a simple Gospel message given by, as he was often called, Mr. Graham.
There was another person named Billy who preached the Gospel. This Billy preached in the late 1800s and up unto 1935, the years after Billy Graham received salvation. The other Billy was Billy Sunday, a one-time professional baseball player who became the leading evangelist of his day.
Billy Sunday was influenced by J. Wilber Chapman whose ministry, in turn, was encouraged through that of one F.B. Meyer. Meyer’s own ministry grew under the tutelage of Dwight L. Moody who was won to Christ by his Sunday School teacher, Edward Kimball, in 1858.
In Charlotte, North Carolina, one of Billy Sunday’s converts was a young man by the name of Mordecai Ham. I read that in 1934 Billy Sunday was invited to preach in Charlotte but couldn’t. Instead, Mordecai Ham, himself now a minister, came and ministered. In one of those services 16 year-old Billy Graham gave his life to Christ.
Six individuals over 76 years. Each one obedient to go and speak life to multitudes, or the one. Too often we look at numbers for marking success. God’s markings may be more on the one, the seed of many to come. Your faithfulness to God’s plan for your life may be marked more by that one than those masses.
Edward Kimball, Dwight L. Moody, F.B. Meyer, J. Wilber Chapman, Billy Sunday, Mordecai Ham, and Billy Graham would, no doubt, agree.