“I have one message: that Jesus Christ came, he died on a cross, he rose again, and he asked us to repent of our sins and receive him by faith as Lord and Savior, and if we do, we have forgiveness of all of our sins.”
After 99 years on earth, Billy Graham entered the presence of the Lord this morning. His ministry was based on one thing: the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In more than 400 crusades worldwide, it is believed that over 215 million people heard the Gospel, and millions more were reached through TV, film and 34 books. Only God knows exactly how many seeds were planted, and how big the harvest will be when we all stand before the Lord to account for how we spent our lives.
Billy Graham was about the Father’s business, even to the end. I recall his last public crusade in 2005, but his service in God’s Kingdom did not end there. Not only did he continue writing, but both Billy and his wife, Ruth (who passed into the presence of the Lord in 2007), were prayer warriors. Billy prayed with presidents, with dignitaries, with visitors, and in quietness alone before the Lord. Occasionally the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) would record and release short messages even after Graham’s public ministry ended.
His legacy lives on. His son, Franklin Graham, now runs the BGEA and Samaritan’s Purse. His daughter, Anne Graham Lotz, teaches worldwide, and his grandson, Will, is a frequent BGEA crusade preacher. All are carrying on the legacy.
What about each of us? What legacy will we leave? Are we about the Father’s business, as Billy Graham led his family to be? As we navigate these last days, it is God’s command to us to be ready, to share God’s grace with others, and to live our lives for the glory of the Lord. Let’s follow the pattern provided by this great saint.
As a postscript, another lesser-known saint passed into glory recently. Evelyn Ritzenthaler also lived out 99 years of service to her Lord and Savior. Ev was the “matriarch” of Victorious Christian Living, a ministry founded by one of her sons, David Ritzenthaler. It was through VCL that I came to understand the grace of God and to live victoriously. I’m far from perfect, but I can’t say that I don’t know what victorious life is about!
You likely know others who were great saints, now at home with the Lord. Why not dedicate this day to thanking God for the major influences in your life, and asking Him to make your life a legacy as well. Then, let’s be about the Father’s business before our address changes!
“One day you’ll hear that Billy Graham has died. Don’t you believe it. On that day I’ll be more alive than ever before! I’ve just changed addresses.”