I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. (2 Timothy 4:7)
Yesterday, a humble faithful servant of our Lord Jesus Christ got to meet his Lord. This is something he had anticipated for a long time. Billy Graham passed into God’s presence. He was 99. Even while I was growing up in Malaysia in the 1970’s, we knew about Billy Graham and his films. Then the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association made a conscious shift from public rallies to the world of film. This was the world before VHS tapes. We showed Billy Graham’s movies in our church halls.
The first thing I would say about Billy Graham was his integrity. As you heard him speak, you know he was not out there to impress you. He might have been too forceful for some of us but we knew he had a sincerity in his messages. Despite his fame, he remained humble and shared about his Lord whenever he had the opportunity. whether personally or in public. He was an evangelist; a “good news” person.
It is also interesting to see the development of his career as an evangelist of Youth For Christ in the late 1940’s to his London, England “crusades” of the mid-1950’s (which brought him global fame) to his worldwide campaigns in the major cities of the world in the 1980’s, 1990’s and 2000’s. He has counselled Presidents and greeted kings and queens. However, sometimes I wonder if Billy Graham made it too easy for us. When he came to town, there was an emphasis on his fame. I wonder if it took away our responsibility to be personal communicators of the faith we have in Jesus Christ. I think that we are now entering a time in which there is less emphasis on “celebrity” in the Christian church and more awareness that each Christian believer can be a “good news” person (do the work of an evangelist, 2 Timothy 4:5). God speaks through us as we live our lives for him. We promote Christ not Christian celebrity.
In any event, Billy Graham is finally home as he would say. We thank God for his life. He has fought a good fight. He has finished the race. He has kept the faith.
Here are 2 videos paying tribute to the life of Billy Graham:
From an American perspective, by Lester Holt of NBC News: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u0qhzb8oL4Y&t=3s
From a British perspective: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKGCyC_zztw&t=28s