George Beverly Shea was a young man in the late 1920s aspiring to become a well-known singer. He entered Houghton College in New York in 1928 to get some good music training, but family financial problems caused him to leave after only one year. He found a job as a clerk for an insurance company and continued his vocal training while living with his parents in New York. He sang in churches all over the city and for local Christian radio broadcasts.
Then, one day, a director for a network radio station heard Bev Shea sing and arranged for him to audition for a part with the Lynn Murray Singers, who had a nationwide radio program. Bev Shea was excited about the prospect of singing on a nationwide, network radio program and being heard by large numbers of people. He had a chance to make "big money," so he went to the audition and was offered the job. There was one drawback, though. If he sang for the Lynn Murray Singers, he couldn't sing for Jesus anymore.
Bev Shea agonized over the decision. It was during the days of the great depression, and his family really needed the money. Then, on a Saturday night, his mother found a poem written by Rhea F. Miller. She wrote out a copy and placed it on the piano. On Sunday morning, Bev Shea found that poem and a tune popped into his head to go along with the words. He wrote it down, and that morning he sang it for the first time in the church where his father was the pastor.
Those words helped Bev Shea make the decision of a lifetime. He turned down the offer to sing with the Lynn Murray Singers so he could sing for Jesus the rest of his life. Soon after that, Billy Graham asked him to be a part of his team, and as they say, "The rest is history."
(From a sermon by C. Philip Green, Take a Risk, 5/25/2012)
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