“Christians should live in the world, but not be filled with it. A ship lives in the water; but if the water gets into the ship, she goes to the bottom. So Christians may live in the world; but if the world gets into them, they sink.”
—Dwight L. Moody
Dwight Lyman Moody was born the sixth child of Edwin and Betsy Holton Moody in Northfield, Massachusetts on February 5, 1837. Dwight’s formal education ended after fifth grade, and he rapidly grew tired of life on the family farm. He left home at age 17 to seek employment in Boston.
After failing to secure a desirable position, he asked his uncle, Samuel Holton, for a job. Reluctantly, Uncle Samuel hired Dwight to work in his own retail shoe store. However, to keep young Moody out of mischief, employment was conditional upon his attendance at the Mt. Vernon Congregational Church.
At Mt. Vernon Moody became part of the Sunday school class taught by Edward Kimball. On April 21, 1855, Kimball visited the Holton Shoe Store, found Moody in a stockroom, and there spoke to him of the love of Christ. Shortly thereafter, Moody accepted the love of God and devoted his life to serving Him. The following year brought Moody to Chicago with dreams of making his fortune in the shoe business. As he achieved success in selling shoes, Moody grew interested in providing a Sunday School class for Chicago’s children and the local Young Men’s Christian Association.
During the revival of 1857 and 1858, Moody became more involved at the YMCA, performing janitorial jobs for the organization and serving wherever they needed him. In 1860 when he left the business world, he continued to increase his time spent serving the organization. In the YMCA’s 1861–1862 annual report, Moody was praised for all his efforts. Although they could not pay him, the YMCA recommended he stay “employed” as city missionary.
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