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October 8, 2007

A Vision for the Future

Editor’s Note: The follow devotional was adapted from Achieving the Impossible with God. It is an account of one of the lives that have been eternally changed because of Toccoa Falls College.

When a person looks back on a lifetime of labor, it is natural for him or her to ask: “Has it been worthwhile? What profits have been gained? What dividends accrued?” Near the end of his life, Dr. Forrest admitted that he, too, had been tempted to ask these same questions. But he quickly came to this conclusion: “There is no finer investment for life, energy, or money than in the godly development of living, breathing human beings. Through them, dividends will come to accumulate until Jesus shall return bringing His reward with Him . . . . Those who have helped these young people in their preparation for His service will surely share in the reward for the work they have accomplished, whether they be workers in ministry, schools, contributors, or prayer warriors.”

Several of the graduates of Toccoa Falls emulated Dr. Forrest by starting Bible schools. Most of these were on the foreign field. However, there was a school in the states that was started by a graduate, who because he was too young originally had to wait three years to enter Toccoa Falls.

Bill Watson was thirteen years old when he came to know Jesus Christ as his Savior. Once his pastor told him about Toccoa Falls, he wanted to attend but he had to wait until he was sixteen. After his graduation, Dr. Forrest, who was district superintendent for the C&MA, asked him to consider entering evangelism work in Florida. Bill agreed and found a way to pitch a large but ragged tent in St. Petersburg. The meetings were well attended and soon that ragged tent became the St. Petersburg Gospel Tabernacle. Bill also started a Bible school at this same location. When it outgrew the facility, he moved the school to the Tampa Bay area, where the school became known as Trinity Bible College.

Years later, during an outdoor meeting in Washington, D. C., the Rev. Billy Graham asked Rev. Richard Forrest to sit on the platform with him and to say the opening prayer. After the service concluded, some of Dr. Forrest’s friends gathered around him. One man said, “This is so wonderful—hearing Billy Graham—but isn’t it true that he got his vision for this kind of work while he attending Trinity Bible College in Florida, which is run by a fellow named Bill Watson?”

Dr. Forrest answered, “So I understand.” Another man spoke up, “And isn’t it true that Bill Watson got his vision for what he is doing from what you did at Toccoa Falls?

Dr. Forrest had never considered this question. “Yes, I believe you are right. He was one of our students in the early days.”

Have you ever wondered if what you are going really counts? The truth is: we will never know until we stand before the Lord in heaven, the eternal dividends that are ours as a result of our willingness to obey God. Dr. and Mrs. Forrest gave of themselves without any thought of return on their investment. They instinctively knew that their ROI was much more than they could grasp. And yet, they humbly continued doing exactly that: obeying Him and teaching us to do the same.

Hundreds of testimonies praise the work of Toccoa Falls. Homecoming is the very time when we rejoice over what God has accomplished through the lives of those who have attended Toccoa Falls College.