Our well known and respected brother, Eric McCullough, recounts some of the influences which God used to mold his life.
Contemplating nearly 60 years now, there are many mentors, who, both by their godly lives and written ministry, have touched and influenced my life. Influence in the life of the believer is like the nerve that moves the muscle. An influence for good can move the individual in the right direction, give him goals for life and motivate his actions.
The writer to the Hebrews mentions, “Your guides who have spoken unto you the word of God, whose faith imitate” (Heb 13:7 R.V).
Godly parents are a heritage to be coveted. My late father immigrated to Nova Scotia from Northern Ireland in l924 to labor in the gospel in that needy field. There were many difficulties associated with the work of the Lord in that day, but God blessed his labors; souls were saved and assemblies planted. He faithfully served the Lord for 50 years and was unwavering in his convictions as to assembly testimony, consistency and example. My parents experienced something of the hardships of pioneer work in that province, yet their confidence in God never faltered. The great depression of the 30’s was most difficult for those looking to God alone to meet their needs. I could relate many instances, but will just mention one Thanksgiving day when my brother and I were wondering where the dinner was. About 11 o’clock there was a knock on the door and a brother from the assembly came with a box of groceries and a chicken; without his coming, there would have been no meal that day. Events such as this left indelible imprints on my young life. I learned early in life that the God of Elijah lives.
Following my conversion in N. Ireland on March 14, 1938, time as a draftee in the U.S. Navy during the Second World War and graduation from chiropractic college, my wife and I moved to the state of Iowa to establish my practice. God’s ways are not our ways. Soon I found my time engaged in gospel preaching on Sunday nights and in the open air.
At this time, perhaps the greatest spiritual impressions on my life were made by the late Oliver Smith, who saw hundreds of souls saved in Iowa. He was an earnest gospel preacher who had a genuine love for the souls of men. His messages were simple, succinct and yet soul stirring. Mr. Smith was the greatest analytical student of human nature that I have ever met. He could size up an individual in a very short time and soon have them listening to the story of the cross. Perhaps his humble, simple, personal touch was the secret of his success among the farmers of this state. His love for souls, zeal in the gospel and untiring efforts to reach the lost made a tremendous impact on me and changed the course of my life. It was a thrill to join him on a number of occasions for gospel meetings in empty country schools and rented buildings, with attendant blessing in salvation. This caused me to consider the priorities in my life, gave impetus in a spiritual direction, and after much exercise, led to commendation to full time service in the work of the Lord in Sept. 1957.
Mr. Smith “went home” May 31, 1960. In a coming day there are many who will rise up and call him blessed. “The memory of the just is blessed” (Prov l0:7).
Through the years, I have read numbers of biographies and autobiographies. Two of these that greatly impressed me were the two volumes of the life of Hudson Taylor: Hudson Taylor in Early Years and Hudson Taylor and the China Inland Mission.
He turned his back on a promising medical career to reach the Chinese with the gospel message. It could only be confidence in his God that caused him to labor for 10 years before he saw his first convert, and yet live to see 1000 native Chinese evangelists raised up to carry the same saving message.
The words of H.W. Longfellow often come to me: “Lives of great men, all remind us we can make our lives sublime, and departing leave behind us footprints on the sands of time.”