Recently, I had the privilege of watching the memorial service for Billy Graham. It was a moving service that highlighted a life well lived for our Savior, Jesus Christ.
The service was a celebration of the hope we have in Jesus because of his great sacrifice for us on the cross. It was also a time to reflect on the life of a man who was committed to telling anyone who would listen about the Gospel of Jesus.
Each of his five children spoke and gave personal insights into the life of the man who was known as “America’s Pastor.” While he was famous and known throughout the world, he was a very simple man. He knew where he had come from – he knew why he was here on earth – and he knew where he was going after he died.
His eldest son, Franklin, who heads up the Samaritan’s Purse Ministry, gave the closing message at the end of the service. He said, “The Billy Graham you saw on TV was the same Bill Graham who was at home. There were not two Billy Grahams.”
Franklin went onto share a few key things about his father. He loved his wife of 64 years, Ruth, with all of his heart. He adored her and she was his soul mate for life. He loved and was devoted to his children and grandchildren. He believed that the Bible was the infallible Word of God. He didn’t understand all of it, but he believed all of it and it was the sole authority in his life. He believed in Heaven and Hell. He would preach that all men were sinners and that those who refused to repent of their sins would be sent to this terrible place called Hell. But, God doesn’t want anyone to perish and spend eternity in Hell. This is what motivated him to preach the Gospel of Jesus with urgency. He wanted to warn people of the consequences of their sins and that they would one day have to stand before God in judgment. In every message he ever preached he would recite John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only son. Whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have everlasting life.”
During his six decades as an evangelist, Dr. Graham preached the Gospel of Jesus to over 215 million people in 185 countries. His message was simple, but life-changing. We all have sinned – we all need forgiveness – Christ offers forgiveness to anyone and everyone who believes in Him and trusts Him as Savior and Lord.
Everyone who truly knew him, said he was a man characterized by a humble spirit who had a deep love for lost people. While he never wanted to be a preacher, he willingly and obediently determined to go wherever the Lord asked him to go and proclaim the Gospel message of Jesus. Throughout his life, he never wavered or compromised in his commitment to preach the Gospel and live a faithful and humble life for Jesus sake and glory.
As I have reflected on the life of this man of God, I have been challenged to look at my own life and ask some very pointed questions.
1. As a husband, father, and grandfather, what legacy am I leaving with my family?
2. How do people really view me as a follower of Jesus Christ? Do people see an unwavering commitment to Jesus in my daily life?
3. What is my true purpose here on earth? Do I love lost people and am I motivated to share the Gospel of Jesus with urgency?
4. What will be said about my life at my funeral?
Billy Graham was a faithful man of God who lived a life well lived for Jesus. Let us strive to follow his lead and live humble, faithful, uncompromising and committed lives for Jesus, so that one day when we enter Heaven we too will hear the Father say, “Well done good and faithful servant.”