Raised in a poor family, the boy’s formal education was spotty, lasting only several years. Even as an adult, misspellings pockmarked his letters. A reporter who heard him speak to a large audience in England lamented the preacher’s incapacity to grasp basic grammar, saying, “He butchered the King’s English!”
Prior to a public preaching ministry, he moved to Boston at seventeen to work in his uncle’s shoe store. A prerequisite for the job was church attendance. Edward Kimball, who taught the young men’s Sunday School class, said he had met “few persons whose minds were spiritually darker.”
Kimball led the young man to Christ, but church leaders rejected his initial application for membership. Kimball admitted, “The committee of the Mount Vernon Church seldom met an applicant for membership more unlikely ever to become a Christian of clear and decided views of the Gospel truth, still less to fill any extended sphere of public usefulness.”
But God has a sense of humor. (Ah, how I love the words “But God”!)
He enjoys confounding man’s opinion and circumventing human wisdom. Dwight L. Moody (1837-1899), a trophy of God’s grace, catapulted to international renown as an evangelist, becoming a household name among believers in the United States and Great Britain. Crowds of up to 20,000 attended his meetings. One audience included the U.S. President and his cabinet. The education-deprived evangelist started a Bible school that thrives today as Moody Bible Institute in Chicago.
The same British reporter who criticized Moody’s poor grammar was bewildered by his effectiveness with an audience. Citing the emotional reaction of listeners and their responsiveness to Moody’s invitation to accept Christ, he exclaimed that he couldn’t find a natural reason for Moody’s success.
Moody agreed with the assessment, admitting that there was no natural reason for his attainments! One of his early biographers concluded, “The life of Moody is a divine apologetic, putting hope into our one-talent lives by proving endowment and advantage to be, in God’s sight, small as the dust of the balance; that my uttermost for His highest must never be an inventory of genius, but a program of consecration.”
The same author insisted, “Our beleaguered age stands in need, not so much of ten-talent men as God-conquered commoners.”
Moody’s own life proved to be “Exhibit A” of the most famous quote attributed to him: “The world has yet to see what God will do with and for and through and in and by the man who is fully and wholly consecrated to Him.”
Moody’s life and ministry illustrate the fact that God uses unlikely people to accomplish extraordinary things! And the reason is this: God is more prone to receive the glory (see 1 Cor. 1:26-29).
How does this story and truth make you feel?
In what situations do you need to remember this biblical perspective?
Terry’s Serve Strong: Biblical Encouragement To Sustain God’s Servants, explains and illustrates Bible truths that instill resiliency and motivation within persons heavily involved in ministry. The book teems with anecdotes of heroic Christians whose lives show the reality of the truths Terry covers. In addition to Moody, read about Saint Augustine, John Newton, David Brainerd, Charles Spurgeon, William Wilberforce, and others. Use the ink below for more on the book: