On February 21, 2018, the Reverend Billy Graham took his last breath on earth and walked triumphantly into eternity and into the presence of His Savior, Jesus Christ!
After nearly 100 years of earth-bound living, William Franklin Graham Jr. crossed his finish line.
He heard the two simple words we all long to hear someday, “Well done!”
I have read so many articles, blog posts and editorials concerning the life and home going of Billy Graham and I wondered, quite frankly, if there was anything else left to say about this incredible man of God. He was a man who dined with queens … who prayed with presidents … and whose opinion mattered to political leaders.
He walked upon the grounds of the White House … in the hallways of Buckingham Palace … on the floor of the United Nations … and on the dusty and unmarked roads of Africa.
“Everywhere I go I find that people … both leaders and individuals … are asking one basic question, ‘Is there any hope for the future?’ My answer is the same, ‘Yes, through Jesus Christ.’” – Billy Graham
How could my perspective on the life of a man I had never met bring any more tribute to the life that was lived so well?
And then, I remembered something that I often say to young moms when I am teaching on the importance of motherhood …
“Someone is going to raise the next Billy Graham … why not you?!”
And so, my tribute comes in the form of a challenge to the next generation of moms; I challenge you to raise the next Billy Graham!
I challenge you to raise a man or a woman so filled with integrity that it leaves the culture in which we live absolutely breathless.
“Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened.” – Billy Graham
I challenge you to raise a man or a woman so filled with moral virtue and purity that he or she is mocked by the gurus of the day.
“The greatest legacy one can pass on to one’s children and grandchildren is not money or other material things accumulated in one’s life but rather a legacy of character and faith.” – Billy Graham
I challenge you to instill a love for the Bible in your son or in your daughter so rich and so rare that every choice, every opinion and every philosophy is birthed from the sacred pages of the Word of God.
“I read the last page of the Bible. It’s all going to turn out all right.” – Billy Graham
I challenge you to teach your children how to handle their finances in a conservative and God-honoring manner. Pass on the wise philosophy to them that money can’t buy happiness, that success is not dependent upon bank accounts and that it pays to be honest.
“When wealth is lost, nothing is lost; when health is lost, something is lost; when character is lost, all is lost.” – Billy Graham
I challenge you to raise a man or a woman so filled with calling and with purpose that absolutely nothing holds them back from their God-ordained destiny. Teach them to tune their ears to the calling of God and not on the applause of men. Remind them often that they are living for eternity and not for fame.
I challenge you to teach your children to tell the truth … the whole truth … and nothing but the truth.
And then remind them that the Truth is Jesus.
“The wonderful news is that our Lord is a God of mercy and that He responds to repentance.” – Billy Graham
I challenge you to raise your children to love the simple things in life. We live in a Disney World-saturated, Super Bowl-driven, People magazine-promoting, false-idol-worshipping, technology-overload society. Lay all of that aside and then make a list of the truly valuable things in life:
Fresh air and sunsets …
The company of grandparents and missionaries …
A game of tag in the backyard …
The delight of family jokes and healthy teasing …
The stories of ancestors and heroes and heroines of the faith …
A family prayer time at the end of a day.
I challenge you to raise your children in a common environment that smacks of uncommon virtue.
“A child who is allowed to be disrespectful to his parents will not have true respect for anyone.” – Billy Graham
I challenge you to raise your children to know that this life is not all that there is to living. We live for eternity not for the pleasure of tomorrow. Remind them day after day after day that heaven is a real place and that there is only one way to get there … through Jesus.
“My home is in heaven – I am just passing through.” – Billy Graham
I challenge you to teach your children the value of prayer. Pray with them every day over the little things and the big things in life. Remind them that God listens and that God answers. And then get on your knees with your children and pray.
“Prayer is simply a two-way conversation between God and you.” – Billy Graham
My prayer today is that this world will never forget the life of Billy Graham … I hope that you never forget the difference that one ordinary person can make for eternity. He lived to make hell smaller and heaven bigger!
My prayer is that in our quest to honor him we do it by calling the next generation to live their lives with the moral fiber and with the spiritual tenacity that it takes to cause heaven to stand to its feet and applaud!
“I haven’t written my own epitaph, and I’m not sure I should. Whatever it is, I hope it will be simple, and that it will point people not to me, but to the One I served.” – Billy Graham
Thanks for listening to my heart this week. As you know by now, my heart is truly not a perfect heart but it is a heart that is filled to overflowing with gratitude for the life I have been given and for the people who walk with me. And, it continues to be a heart that is relentlessly chasing after God and all that He is!