There are few people in our modern times that has impacted the world like this man did. That’s sad, but true. I mean, we are so concerned with the Hawkings, the Lucas’, the Spielbergs, the politicians, the athletes. And anyone that does not tell us we have to change. Pastor Graham was straight forward. Always.
He was profiled many years ago by Time Magazine. Back then they weren’t so driven by an “expose” and were straight up trying to get a sense of who he was. This was at least 20 years back. He was on their cover four times: October 25, 1954, November 15, 1993, May 13, 1996, and August 9, 2007. And, likely, here again soon. But he was asked by them, I believe, in the 1993 story, “What keeps you from having a scandal like so many other televangelists?” His response was amazing. He said, “I ask God every day, “Take me from this earth before I taint you reputation.””
He was legitimate. He was just a man. Flesh and blood head to toe. But, he was legitimate in his love for God and his love for his fellow human being. A the time of that interview, he had a salary of $35,000 per year. While being the head of an organization that dealt in millions. He wasn’t interested in becoming profitable. Except for the Kingdom.
It’s great to quote a man of such enormous accomplishments. He has rubbed elbows with some most famous people in history. Presidents. Musicians. Actors. And more. He also rubbed elbows with the common. Although, he never saw them as common. He saw them as God does. Important enough to give His Son for.
His pastor was a man of non-descript. No one has heard of him. It’s okay, it may not seem that important to us. After all, he’s not Billy Graham. But a ministry that led hundreds of thousands (maybe more, no one really knows) to God was started by the unknown man that led Billy to Jesus.
Dr. Bill Graham spoke in person to over 2.5 million people in his life. Countless millions more over TV and radio. And more as his messages are repeated daily in all kinds of formats. And in all countries. His impact is great and beyond a total, real calculation. The greatest loss for America (indeed, the world) in the last decade. Maybe the last century. Would he agree? He said this: “Someday, you will read or hear that Billy Graham is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it. I shall be more alive than I am now. I will just have changed my address. I will have gone into the presence of God.” He was planning and waiting for this day.
I don’t believe he was anything less than gracious and loving. To anyone who came his way. From here we will hear story after story of how he impacted people. He was indeed a general in God’s Army. But he came up through the ranks. For certain.
Of all the great things the man did for God and for the Kingdom- And for mankind-His desire to pass what he had along was the greatest. He had the good news. He loved God and the rest got in line from there.
I leave you with this that Billy said: “I don’t need a successor, only willing hands to accept the torch for a new generation.” Maybe we just need to grab that torch with a nod and take off?