Billy Graham Thoughts
“For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep and was laid with his fathers…” (Acts 13:36). With the recent passing of Billy Graham, the man known as “America’s Pastor”, it can be said that he fulfilled this verse in his generation.
The influence of Billy Graham stretched worldwide. He was faithful, and fulfilled the purpose that God had for him. He was known for being a man of grace, kindness, and humility. He was a man who desired to give God all the glory. In an interview several years ago, when asked what he wanted to be remembered for, Dr. Graham said that being truthful in presenting the Gospel was something that he would hope people would remember about him.
As we read this verse in Acts once again, I am reminded that this verse is for all of us. We have been put here with a purpose. For the believer, that purpose is to glorify God in all we do. It is truly all about Him.
Having said that, note that this verse says that David “served” the purpose of God. What a key word. We are called to serve. Jesus was the perfect example of this, leaving heaven and coming down to this speck of a planet, living among people, showing us what God is like, serving and ultimately, giving His life for us so we could be reconciled to God when we accept Christ into our life. Jesus was what servanthood is about (Philippians 2:1-11).
Paul Cedar, in his book “Strength In Servant Leadership”, notes that when Jesus washed the feet of the disciples, He was showing them what being a servant leader was about. Cedar writes,
“His teaching is clear. Examples are not only to be seen or even merely to be admired. They are to be imitated. Jesus was an example to the disciples and to us so that we would live as he lived. To recognize and understand the example of another person is important; but the real benefit comes from following that example by doing the same thing. Jesus is saying, “Do what I say, and do what I do. I have taught you the truth – and I have lived the truth before you. Follow my example!”
Billy Graham, from all that you read and hear, desired to live this way. He wanted to be known for having integrity, for serving His God and sharing the Good News with others. He wanted to be an imitator of Christ in all things. I believe we all want to be known for that.
At times, I know that I sound like a broken record because the following is something I need to continually keep in mind. Yet, the more I study the Scriptures, the more I am convinced that as followers of Christ we are to live out Christ’s mission in the world, being the “hands of feet” of Jesus to those we encounter.
May it be said of us that “we served the purpose of God” in our generation. May God use us to influence others for His kingdom and may we all be challenged to grow in knowing Christ and being transformed into His image.