Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – March 9, 2018
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple… Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me! Isaiah 6:1,8
It seems like ever since I became a Christian in 1979 as a freshman in college, Billy Graham has been in my life as a mentor, friend and model of how to follow Christ. As a very zealous young convert with a fiery heart for the Lord, I tried to read and listen to everything Billy wrote or said, or what others wrote about him. His sermons became my quiet time reflections and templates for my talks. I met him once in his twilight before his Atlanta Crusade in 1994, pre-selfies I missed out on a photo, but shook his warm hand and felt his loving heart. My eyes said to his blue eyes. “I love and admire you, thank you”. Billy’s recent transition to heaven is God’s gain and my loss, but his influence on me will never be forgotten. Here’s how he marked me:
Billy never forgot where he came from, not just his humble beginnings on a dairy farm, but his spiritual bankruptcy before his faith in Christ. Hands clasped together and head bowed in reverent posture, he petitioned heaven for lost souls to be saved. Prayer, he said, more than his preaching was the conduit for the Father to draw sinners to faith and repentance. His humility to maintain a simple life of love for the Lord and people, kept life’s clutter at bay.
In addition his humility to be accountable with his finances, a modest salary with an arm’s length relationship to his ministry, he avoided a conflict of interest. Humility also breeds wisdom, as he submitted early on to a process of not placing himself alone with another woman, again to not even have an appearance of misconduct and a career ending scenario of “he said, she said”. My friend who is a relative of Billy’s told me a few years ago,”Billy can call anyone on the planet and they will answer his call, but he is so humble, he is not even aware of his lofty influence”. Billy’s humility reminds me to take myself less serious and the Lord’s agenda more serious.
Not brash, but bold in the power of the Holy Spirit. Because God was his audience of one and the Bible was the basis of his authoritative message, he would share the good news of Jesus to paupers, princes and everyone in between. He had no need to apologize, nor was he ever ashamed, because he knew in his heart the gospel was the power of God unto salvation and there is no other name [Jesus] under heaven where by mankind must be saved! Refreshing to see someone without airs raise his Bible in the air and call on all cultures to confess Christ. Billy’s boldness challenges me to have a sense of urgency to see as many people as possible be saved.
Very similar to the Apostle Paul, Billy was compelled by the love of Christ to love on behalf of Christ. Because the Lord’s love had lifted him out of the miry pit of pride and unbelief, he was ever grateful to proclaim the grace of God that offered authentic life and liberty through faith in Jesus. His pure love for the Lord, for his family and for people motivated him to travel the world and in some cases be bedridden during the day to rest and reflect, so he might have the energy to engage massive audiences at night. Because God loved him as a lost sinner, he was able to love sinners and show them how to find the love of their life—Jesus. Billy’s love is a bright light illuminated by his capacity to receive God’s love into his heart. I want to be the Lord’s lover!
Billy Graham is a man not to be worshiped but to be motivated by and admired. Just as Isaiah lost a hero in King Uzziah, so all of us who are branded by Jesus, miss our friend and hero Billy. And like Isaiah we say, “Here we are Lord, send us in Your power to share the gospel of Jesus, with a heart of humility, a boldness based on the Bible and a life of love.” Well done Billy. You are the quintessential “good and faithful servant”. Tell your next door neighbor Mother Teresa, I said hi and I look forward to hanging out one day. But in the meantime let’s rescue the perishing!
PrayerHeavenly Father, grow me into a faithful follower of Jesus like Your faithful servants before me, in Jesus’ name, amen.
ApplicationWhat can I learn and apply to my life from a more seasoned saint in the faith?
Related ReadingJohn 12:41; 1 Corinthians 9:24; Hebrews 11:8-10, 12:1-3
Post/Tweet todayHumility to maintain a simple life of love for the Lord and people keeps life’s clutter at bay. #WisdomHunters #heroofthefaith
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