Billy Graham: ‘good and faithful servant’
The apostle Paul, in his letter to the church of Colossae, wrote “pray that I may proclaim [the good news of Christ] clearly, as I should. Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace.”
The Reverend—and revered—Billy Graham has certainly fulfilled what “the Bible says.”
Pray that I may proclaim it clearly
William Franklin Graham wrote “My one purpose in life is to help people find a personal relationship with God, which, I believe, comes through knowing Christ”
He did exactly that, preaching the gospel to more people in live audiences than anyone else in history: 210 million people in 185 countries. With his trademark, “The Bible says . . . ,” he certainly proclaimed the gospel clearly.
Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders
Billy Graham’s nearly seventy years of ministry was not once smudged with moral or personal scandal. Instead, he earned the respect of Christians and unbelievers alike appearing a record 43 times on the Gallup Poll?s “Ten Most Admired Men in the World” list. Even as an outspoken and uncompromising Southern Baptist, he managed to earn the admiration of all people of faith. He was recognized by the Anti-Defamation League of the B’nai B’rith and the National Conference of Christians and Jews for his efforts to foster a better understanding among all faiths. Plus, this white man from the south was also cited by the George Washington Carver Memorial Institute for his contributions to race relations
He received the Congressional Gold Medal and Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation Freedom Award for contributions to the cause of freedom, as well as being knighted by Great Britain.
Make the most of every opportunity
Graham was one of the first evangelists to creatively utilize radio and television, and he founded his own movie company, Worldwide Pictures. He wrote 18 books, all best-sellers, and founded the Christianity Today publishing empire along with his own magazine, Decision with a circulation of two million.
He was also a powerful force on social issues having integrated meetings during the divisive civil rights movement. He was friends with Martin Luther King and a confidant to every president from Dwight Eisenhauer through George W. Bush, who credits his spiritual conversion to Graham.
Let your conversation always be full of grace
Unlike some evangelists today with their outrageous and often judgmental rhetoric, Graham’s comments were always articulate, well-thought-out, and full of grace. He refused to get side-tracked by political and religious issues, but deliberately focused on the simple gospel.
Graham is arguably the most recognized Christian minister of our time and certainly the most respected. And, although his declining health has taken him from public ministry, his influence continues to be felt in the lives and ministries affected by his life and ministry.
“Well done, good and faithful servant.”
Copyright © 2007 James N. Watkins