Monday, February 26, 2018

Billy Graham Remembered - What will you be remembered for?

What will you be remembered for? 

When your life is over what will you be remembered for? It’s quite a sobering question.

In a previous career, I read a book called ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ by Dr Stephen R. Covey. In his book, Dr Covey introduced a habit, called ‘the habit of Beginning with the End in Mind’. The idea was a wise one. To achieve anything, you need to know what you are aiming for. Having done that you need to work out how to get there. What are you aiming for?

The following story is told about Alfred Noble. Alfred Noble was a Swedish industrialist, inventor, and armaments manufacturer. Shortly after his brother died, he was reading a newspaper and to his horror found that instead of his brother’s obituary his had been written. As he pondered what the journalist had written about him, he concluded that his lasting legacy was that of developing dynamite. Alfred died in San Remo, Italy on December 10, 1896. In his last will and testament, he wrote that much of his fortune was to be used to give prizes to those who have done their best for humanity in the field of physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature and peace. Today his name is more often linked with the Nobel Peace Prize than with the forces of destruction.

Billy Graham, the renowned American preacher, recently left this world for heaven. The name Billy Graham is synonymous with Christianity. He was known for preaching from the Bible (his famous strapline was ‘the Bible says’) and with challenging appeals to everyone (the Bible word ‘whosoever’[1] comes to mind) to ‘repent and believe the gospel’[2] of the Lord Jesus Christ. He will be remembered for his consistency of life and message and for living a dignified, Godly life right to the end of his time​ on earth. Despite his fame and unblemished record, he made this statement one day – ‘I am not the holy, righteous prophet of God that many people think I am. I share with Wesley the constant feeling of my own inadequacy and sinfulness. I am often amazed that God can use me at all’[3].

You might find it unusual that a man like Billy Graham could still see himself as a sinner. The fact is that the nearer a person gets to God the more aware they become of their sinfulness and God’s holiness. Peter, the great apostle, once said to Jesus ‘Depart from me; for I am a sinful man’[4]. I am glad that rather than reject those who confess they are sinners, the Lord Jesus Christ is ‘faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness[5]’.

[1] The Gospel of John 3. 16
[2] The Gospel of Mark 1. 15
[3] Russ Busby, Billy Graham: God’s Ambassador (Nashville: W Publishing Group 1999), 159
[4] The Gospel of Luke 5. 8

[5] 1st John 1. 9

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