What God Did Through the Testimony of an Fourteen Year Old Boy
He that winneth souls is wise! My friend, Dr. Broughton, used to be pastor of a big Baptist church in Atlanta, Georgia. When he was a young minister he went out to help a pastor in revival meetings. He said he would ask God to forgive him a good many times. He said he went and preached and he never in all his days saw such a dead, lifeless, indifferent, apathetic crowd. He didn’t believe there was such a crowd this side of the cemetery. He said he preached. Nobody smiled. They all looked like epitaphs on a tombstone. He said he asked for a show of hands; nobody would lift them. He would ask for a request for prayer; nobody would appeal. To every appeal they were as deaf as Hades. He was discouraged about it. One time he made an appeal and said, “If there is a man here who wants us to pray, a father who wants us to pray for his children, lift your hand.”
A boy, fourteen years of age, who sat on the end of the seat, raised his hand. He said, “If there is a mother here who wants us to pray for her child, or children, lift your hand.” The boy lifted his hand. He said, “If there is a businessman here who has interests that concern his partner, lift your hand.” Up went the boy’s hand. He made the appeal governing both sexes. He said to himself, “This child’s a monstrosity.” He said, “I have made an appeal covering both sexes and all ages. To every appeal he has lifted his hand.” He went back to the hotel. Sitting in his chair he heard a rap at the door. “Come in!” In walked one of the deacons, stroking his long bird-tail whiskers.
“How do you do, Deacon?”
He said, “We ain’t having much of a meeting.”
“Never saw anything worse.”
“I thought I’d come up and tell you about that little boy who’s down to the church,” the deacon said. “What do you mean?” Dr. Broughton asked. “Well, everytime you make an appeal, he lifts his hand. He’s just making a fool of you.”
“Forget it. He’s making a fool of you and all the rest of the fools who profess to be Christians.” The deacon said, “Well, I thought I’d come and tell you so you could tell him to stay away.” Dr. Broughton said, “I’ll give that boy ten dollars a day to come. He’s the only evidence of life I’ve seen in the city. If you think I’m going to turn the hose on him, you’ve got another guess coming.”
“Well,” the deacon said, “I thought I’d tell you.” Stroking his whiskers, he went out. Dr. Broughton went on to preach and make similar appeals. The only one who would respond was that boy. Up would go his hand. Another day he heard a knock. “Come in!” In came this old deacon. He said,”Do you know that boy?”
“Certainly I know him; he’s the only one I do know.” He said, “You ain’t having much of a revival.” He said, “No, you need an undertaker in this town instead of an evangelist. You are the deadest crowd that I have ever seen. And if God or anybody else had told me that there was such a dead, indifferent membership on earth, I wouldn’t have believed it.”
“Well,” the deacon said, “do you know that boy ain’t overly bright?” “He’s got you backed off the boards. He’s got sense enough to make a response,” replied Dr. Broughton. “Well,” he said, “I thought I’d tell you.” The preacher said, “You don’t need to tell me.” The pastor came to Dr. Broughton and said, “Doctor, before I was sure that you were coming to preach on Sunday morning for a brother minister in another city who is away and I’d like to have you preach for me on Sunday morning.” He said, “Very well.” On Saturday night he heard a rap at the door. “Come in!” In came this old deacon, stroking his whiskers. “Howdy, Doc.” “How do you do, Deacon?” He said, “The domine asked (they always call the preacher the domine) — the domine asked you to preach on Sunday morning, didn’t he?” “Yes.” He said, “Now, don’t you ask for converts because there ain’t any.”
“Deacon, look me in the face, if you can, and answer me this: You knew that if I did, there would be one or some and you don’t want that one, or some, to join the church.” He squirmed uncomfortably. “Well”, he said, “you can do as you please.” He said, “I’d do that without your consent. I’ll preach if I feel God and the Spirit; if I don’t, I won’t. I won’t do it because you told me to do it, or not to do it. Neither would I do it if you asked me to or if you asked me not to.” Sunday morning he walked out and preached. When he got through he said, “If there is anybody here who wants to be a Christian, wants to join the church, come down and take me by the hand.” Pretty soon there was a shuffling and down the aisle came that boy. Dr. Broughton took him by the hand and said, “Sit down, sonny.” He asked the usual questions. The child gave answers and Dr. Broughton repeated the answers. He said to the audience, “You have all heard the questions I have asked and the answers given, for I have repeated both. All who are in favor of giving this boy the right hand of fellowship and receiving him in full membership, say ‘aye'”. Two farmers voted aye and the rest of them kept quiet. Dr. Broughton said, “The ayes have it.” He got the kid up on the platform and baptized him.
The boy went bounding home. He lived with his grandfather since his mother was dead. His grandfather was an invalid, and the richest man in that section of Georgia. For nearly sixty years he had never been known to darken a church door. He was a leader of the infidels; he denounced religion because of unbelief, and blatantly spewed out the theories and doctrines of infidelity. The boy bounded in, put his arms around the old man’s neck and said, “Grandpa, they took me into the church, and Dr. Broughton baptized me, and if you will come up there, they will take you in, too.” He said, “Go away, son, don’t bother me. Grandpa don’t care about it.” He pushed the boy off, but back in again he came. He kept begging his grandpa to go, but he said, “Don’t bother your grandpa; go on away.” He said, “Grandpa, I’ll tell you what they will ask you, and I’ll tell you what to say. Come on and go.” My friend preached to men only on Sunday afternoon. They saw this boy come into the church leading his old grandfather, who was hobbling on the crutches of decrepitude as he came down the aisle. He sat down and listened.
When my friend got through the grandfather arose and said, “Dr. Broughton, may I speak a few words?” He stood trembling on his cane. “I have cussed and damned God all my life. This is the first time I have crossed a church threshold for over sixty years. My little grandson — and you know he ain’t overly bright; his ma’s gone and he lives with me and his grandma — he came home and said you took him into the church and told me if I’d come you’d take me in. Dr. Broughton, if you think God will reach down and take an old reprobate like me, who has cussed Him all my days, and I’ve never, never prayed — if you think the Lord will take me in the sunset of life and kiss away the stains of guilt, I’d like to come.”
Dr. Broughton said, “Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”
The old man came hobbling down and said, “I have wandered far away from God, but now I’m coming home.”
He was baptized and received into the church. Listen! They went home. The next day, the little boy went bounding downtown into a saloon kept by his father. He said, “O papa, grandpa and me have joined the church and if you’ll come up, they will take you in. I will tell you what they will ask you and I’ll tell you what to say.” He said, “Go out of here, my son; this is no place for you.” Say, if a dirty, stinking saloon is no place for my boy, it’s no place for me. If it’s good for me, it’s good for him, and if it’s bad for him, it’s bad for me. To Hell with the saloon!
He said to him, “Go on out of here, son. Go on out of here. This is no place for a boy.” “Pa, come on. They will take you in.”
Listen! The next Sunday that man walked down the aisle, told the story of what his little boy had done, and he said “If you think that God can save a saloon-keeper, I’d like to be a Christian.”
He joined the church, then he said, “Come down tomorrow morning and we will break the bottles of whiskey and champagne and beer.” They brought them into the street and they did. They turned it into the sewer as the people stood singing. He said, “I feel that my mission is to the saloon-keepers of that part of the country.”
He started out and by personal effort, with drunkards and saloon-keepers, started a tidal wave of religion. And the first county that went dry in Georgia was that county. The state was put dry by the legislative enactment, and they never had a saloon in that county from that day till this. It all started with that little boy.
You’ve got as much sense as the boy, haven’t you? Go do likewise; that is my message.
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://www.independentbaptist.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/220px-Billy_Sunday_1921.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]by Billy Sunday
Sermon preached by Billy Sunday[/author_info] [/author]