Billy Graham once said “Someday you will read or hear that Billy Graham is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it. I shall be more alive than I am now. I will just have changed my address. I will have gone into the presence of God.” Billy was humble and an open vessel through whom God worked mightily, sharing the gospel to the largest audiences in world history.
A truly great person helps everyone else to know that they are equally important to God, with a remarkable life to live. Billy did that by always pointing to Christ. His mind and heart had been stretched the size of John 3:16. He built big gathering places so everyone could know that they belonged. He was never small minded or closed hearted.
Billy preached at FBC Boerne in 1946. (Three years before the famous Los Angelas tent revival that brought him national attention.) Decades later that is where I would begin preaching. I read his works. Listened to him. Prayed for him. Hung his photo in my teenage room. Was in the audience when he preached in SA, Lubbock, Louisville, Toronto,St. Louis, Houston, and… His humility, boldness and abilities were empowered by his unique calling from God. I talked with Howard Butt and Buckner about Billy’s special relationship with Trinity.
Two of the 20th century’s greatest men were two Baptist preachers – Billy and Martin Luther King, Jr. Billy began by emphasizing the personal nature of salvation. Martin began by stressing the gospel’s social application. They were two sides of the same coin. Billy showed us how to follow Christ until he drew in his last breath from his North Carolina mountain home. He next breathed the fresh air of his heavenly home. It can be that way for all of us. Let it be.