This week I have been reading Entrusted with the Gospel, a collection of expositions of 2 Timothy. Each of the 6 chapters consists of a message that was preached at the 2009 conference of The Gospel Coalition.
In the second exposition Philip Ryken, now President of Wheaton College, gives the following remarkable illustration of faithful service. It is the story of a 103 year old convert, Luke Short.
Mr Short was sitting under a hedge in Virginia when he happened to remember a sermon he had once heard preached by the famous Puritan John Flavel. As he recalled the sermon, he asked God to forgive his sins right then and there, through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Short lived for three more years, and when he died, the following words were inscribed on his tombstone, ‘Here lies a babe in grace, aged three years, who died according to nature, aged 106.’
Here is the truly remarkable part of the story. The sermon that old Mr Short remembered had been preached eighty-five years earlier back in England!
So if you are preaching this Sunday, don’t assume that a lack of response means your message has been of no value! Who knows what impact it will have in the next 85 years!