At 99 years old, Billy Graham finally reached home.

He passed away at his home in Montreat on Feb. 21, 2018. In his lifetime, this evangelist is believed to have preached to over 210 million people.

While much will be covered in the days to come regarding his life, I am thankful for a man who finished strong loving Jesus and loving others.  He has been a great role model for ministers.  I got my doctorate from the school that bears his name.  I can remember hearing him preach in Charlotte where the Carolina Panthers play football.  And I can remember the impact he made still following Jesus late into his life.

Graham had stated that the first question he is going to ask when he gets to heaven is:

“Why me, Lord?  Why did you choose a farm boy from North Carolina to preach to so many people, to have such a wonderful team of associates, and to have a part in what you were doing in the latter half of the twentieth century?”

Indeed, Graham has experienced lives transformed and the spiritual climate of the world altered during his lifetime and through his ministry. Regardless of the amount of success in his crusades, Graham and his wife, Ruth always maintained a humble perspective concerning their involvement.

Concerning one particular revival, Ruth stated,

“We felt we were just spectators.  God was doing something, and Billy and I were just watching.”

While there exist many obvious reasons to why Graham was used in such a mighty way during his lifetime, the one reason that unites all others is his own personal intimacy with God.

  • Without his close proximity to God, he would never had possessed such a genuine love for lost souls.
  • Had he not made it a priority to live closely to Jesus, he would have never held so strongly to biblical convictions.
  • If he was not intimate with God, he would have never cared about improving organizational matters in order to bring others closer to God.

Above all the many lessons ministers can glean from Billy Graham, every Christian should marvel at what an Almighty God can do through an ordinary dependant soul who is close to Jesus.

Don’t lose that lesson.  Learn from it.  Let the greatest legacy of his life be the way we imitate what looked like Jesus in him (1 Cor. 11:1).

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit (John 12:24).

Travis Agnew is married to Amanda and the father of two sons and one daughter. He serves as the Senior Pastor of Rocky Creek Baptist Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is What God Has Joined Together.