Billy Graham sleeps. For most of his life, he was a preacher of the Gospel. He pointed sinners to Jesus, and he told them to repent and have faith. Now the servant of God is remembered. Having joined the great cloud of witnesses, he is absent from the body and present with the Lord. Billy Graham finished his race.
Billy Graham’s impact on my life has come largely through secondary and tertiary means. I watched a few of his old sermon videos while I was in seminary, and I followed his last crusade in New York in 2005. But I’ve mostly been impacted by him through others who have been impacted by him directly. By the time I came of age, his ministry had already peaked. So I asked a few people, who are all slightly older than me, from our congregation to share their memories of Billy Graham. Through these saints and others, Billy Graham continues to minister to me and to our church.
While I never met Billy Graham in person, I felt like I knew him. As a teenager going to Youth for Christ we would see a lot of the feature length movies made by Graham. Movies of people’s lives changed by the gospel. In these movies we heard a lot of his sermons from his crusades. I would see on the Saturday nights even in our Youth for Christ venue young people responding to the Gospel because of the message of the Gospel. The most famous and respected preacher and evangelist during my life, he has shown that even in our world today that we can live as godly people, with integrity, honesty, compassion and love. We lose a saint, heaven rejoices and we can finish the race well. This is one of the legacies he has left.
A younger generation of Christians can hardly imagine how important the ministry of Billy Graham was and continues to be among an older generation of our brothers and sisters. Nor can we fully appreciate how vital his enduring ministry is among us through them. Truly, “through his faith, though he died, he still speaks.”