“Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father.” Matthew 13:43
I was taken aback when I heard of the passing of Rev. Dr. Billy Graham. Dr. Graham was an icon on the American religious landscape, since his ministry started in 1947. He was arguably the most influential Christian in the last 100 years.
Billy Graham preached his crusades throughout the world from the 1950’s through the early 2000’s. His last American crusade was in New York City in 2005. All in all, he preached in 185 countries and to over 215 million people. Dr. Graham authored over 30 books (www.msn.com). He cofounded the seminary from which Dr. Drake and Andrea Williams and I graduated, Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, Massachusetts.
What made Dr. Graham so effective was his loyalty to Scripture and his willingness to reach people from a variety of backgrounds. Most of all, Dr. Graham loved Jesus Christ and His gospel. A touching tribute from his daughter Anne is found at http://www.annegrahamlotz.org/2018/02/21/daddy-is-at-home/.
Two things stand out to me from his long and effective ministry. For one, he was a man of integrity. He refused to compromise his values and lived an upright life. Secondly, he is quoted as saying: “If I knew that Jesus was coming back in three years, I would study for two of them.”
Both of those things inspire me as a minister. I must live uprightly and continue to diligently study God’s word, in order to serve in His kingdom effectively.