Billy Graham viewed his life on earth as someone merely passing through, making the most of his ninety nine years. I was in my car when I received the news of his death, listening to talk radio. Upon hearing this update, Rush Limbaugh spent a few minutes of his next monologue reflecting upon Graham’s life and legacy. Rush relayed the context of one of Billy’s famous quotes. “When you hear reports about my death, don’t believe it. I am not dead. Rather, I have changed my address, relocating to a permanent destination.”
I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life, 1 John 5:13.
In a spiritual sense, I am related to Reverend Graham. You see, my mentor in high school, Ken Horne, dedicated his life to God at a Billy Graham Rally as a teenager. This propelled Ken to become a high school teacher, coach and Fellowship of Christian Athlete’s director at Concord High. I was too cool for God as a nineth grader, rejecting several offers to attend this small group Bible Study. After a nervous breakdown in tenth grade, I accepted an invitation to an event on December 4th, 1984. Ken paid for my ticket to a Fellowship of Christian Athlete’s Speakout featuring members of Philadelphia’s four professional sports teams. Yet, it was a man in a wheel chair, Skip Wilkins who God used to lead me to surrender my life to Jesus Christ.
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved, Romans 10:9-10.
As the 2018 Winter Olympics come to a close this weekend, the 2020 Summer Olympics are just around the corner. As Billy Graham officially retired Wednesday, its never too early to begin training, finding someone to pass the baton to in the name of Christ. Reverend Graham wasn’t perfect, but as elders like Leonard Ravenhill began to offer constructive criticism to make sure new converts were being properly discipled following their conversions, Billy Graham’s ministry became a well oiled machine, producing permanent disciples. May the legacy that Billy Graham Sr. has left behind inspire you to get moving, ready to fulfill the great commission so that those who do pass away are able to relocate to a permanent address in heaven.
by Jay Mankus