We had a wonderful graduation celebration last Saturday morning. The night before, we had a meaningful time of consecration at our graduation banquet.
At the banquet, I told the students the story of Rodney Smith. Rodney was born into a family of gypsies in 1860. His mother died when he was just a boy and his father had a tough time holding the family together. Without formal education, Rodney grew up headed for trouble; he frequently got on the wrong side of the authorities.
But at the age of 16, Rodney trusted Christ as Saviour and began preaching the gospel—something he would do for the rest of this life. For over 60 years, he traveled the world, preaching at evangelistic events. He preached to paupers and presidents (include Franklin Roosevelt). He preached to students at Harvard. Thousands came to know Christ through the preaching of “Gypsy” Smith.
Linda is the one who told me the story of Gypsy Smith. The part of his story that impacted her the most had to do with a “circle.”
It’s reported that when Gypsy Smith came to a new town to preach the gospel, he sometimes stopped on the outskirts and drew a circle in the dirt. Then he would step inside the circle and ask the Lord to begin a revival in that town—beginning with the man in the circle. I’ve also read that when asked by someone how to be used by God, Gypsy Smith replied: “Find a piece of chalk and find an empty room. Go into that room and shut the door. Draw a circle on the floor with that chalk, kneel down in that circle, and ask God to start revival right there.”
At our graduation banquet, we gave every student a chalkboard and a piece of chalk. Each student laid his or her chalkboard on the ground, drew a circle and stepped inside it. Then we had a time of prayer, asking the Lord to work in the cities and churches where they would serve. We asked God to do a great work—starting with the students standing in the circle.
Heritage College and Seminary is dedicated to training up men and women with the same passion for the gospel that was seen in Gypsy Smith. My heart rejoices when I think of what God will do through these consecrated and committed graduates.
Would you join me in praying for our recent graduates? Pray that each one would be consecrated to Christ and useful in His service. Pray for those of us who teach and train them for ministry–that we may be fully consecrated to Christ Jesus and useful to His purposes.
I’d also challenge you to join me and our 2017 graduates by stepping inside the circle and asking God to do a great work—beginning with you!