I never met Billy Graham or got to hear him speak in person. Yet, the news that he passed away this morning at age 99 saddens me. He is certainly listed among the greatest preachers of all time, such as Charles Spurgeon, Dwight L. Moody, and H.M.S. Richards. Born on a farm in Charlotte, North Carolina in 1918, he didn't have the advantage of a family who believed in God. But after his conversion during a revival at 16, he devoted his life to Christ and eventually discovered his call to ministry. Unfortunately, however, he was a terrible speaker and an incredibly shy individual. But God was able to give him the words and the abilities to become one of the most widely respected ministers of our time. Even after his mentor, Charles Templeton, left the ministry and announced his atheism, Billy Graham remained strong in his faith. There are several aspects of his ministry that remain an inspiration to me. Billy Graham remained free of scandal while so many other pastors have become the center of controversies. He became a friend to all, whether the poor and lonely or the famous and powerful. And Billy Graham ever preached the love, mercy, and compassion of God.
One of my favorite promises in the Bible is found in the book of Isaiah. It goes like this: "How beautiful upon the mountains Are the feet of him who brings good news, Who proclaims peace, Who brings glad tidings of good things, Who proclaims salvation, Who says to Zion, 'Your God reigns!'" (Isaiah 52:7). As you think about the life and impact of Billy Graham, ask yourself what you can do to bring glad tidings. Who will you share Jesus with? Are your feet beautiful? It's hard to fathom a life and ministry like Billy Graham's, but if I can make even a fraction of the difference in this world that he did, I will be satisfied.