This past week, we lost a giant. His life span lasted one-year shy of a century. To say that he touched millions, is truly an understatement. Evangelist Billy Graham died last Wednesday. He was beginning his 100th year.
Graham was single minded in his ministry. His love for Jesus was obvious. He was a lifelong student, teacher, author and preacher. In his final interview, just one day or two before his death, Graham was asked how he would like to be remembered. He responded: “I hope I will be remembered as someone who was faithful—faithful to God, faithful to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and faithful to the calling God gave me not only as an evangelist, but as a husband, father and friend.”
Early on in his life, Graham was touched by the grace of God. In response, he gave his heart to Jesus and committed his life to Jesus. I am sure that Graham did not expect to have the kind of impact that he would. His life would never be the same. Called away from life on a farm in the United States, he would take the message of hope in Jesus to the ends of the earth. Travelling the world, he met with religious and political leaders, and common folk alike. In his own country, sitting Presidents of no matter their political leanings always called upon Graham for counsel.
But Graham, wherever he was, no matter the type or size of audience, would bring into focus the simple message of Salvation in Jesus Christ. He humbly proclaimed the words of Jesus. The Gospel message Graham proclaimed – always elicited a response. I had the opportunity with my family to attend a Billy Graham Crusade in Toronto in my younger years. I was encouraged to grow in my faith.
Despite his wide renown, Billy Graham possessed tremendous humility. I read about one of his many speaking engagements. In 1982, Billy Graham was addressing students at Harvard University. As he began his address he said: “When I read the list of past speakers and some of the future speakers that you’re going to have here, I felt like the man I heard about in my part of the country who decided to enter his mule in the Kentucky Derby,” he said to laughter from the crowd. “They said you don’t expect your mule to win, do you? And he said, ‘No, but look at the company he’ll be in!’” Billy Graham, even by 1982, with all of his worldwide acclaim and influence, speaking to an audience at Harvard, chose to liken himself to a mule! Wow!
Billy Graham lived his life for Jesus. During his life, he called others to faith in the One who called him to service in this life. Well done good and faithful servant!
In the peace of Christ, Rob+