I never had the privilege of meeting Billy Graham, but his ministry marks my life.
He was the first crusade evangelist I ever heard speak when I was a teenage believer, and many were the nights I watched him preach the Word on television.
The clarity of his message and the passion of his heart made me long to tell the old, old story as often as I could.
Then, I had the honor of serving as the second dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and Ministry at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS). When I moved from SBTS to the International Mission Board, the seminary gave me a painting of Graham and a framed letter of congratulations from him. I’m most humbled to have both hanging in our home office.
There’s so much I could thank Graham for today, and others have written much more powerful tributes to him than I ever could. Here’s what I’m most grateful for, though: he ended well.
When so many others have fallen into sin; when so many have been ensnared in the devil’s trap; when so many have compromised the Word; when so many have lost their moral compass, Graham remained faithful.
He fought the fight all the way in the full armor of God.
That’s the cry of my heart today. I realize that every one of us is always but one dumb decision away from falling. Just like Jesus warned Peter, each of us could deny Him with our words and actions by time the next dawn comes. Every step could be disaster – and every moment of victory we have is due to Him.
Fully in the grace of God, Billy Graham ran his race well. All of it. To the end.
I pray that God will grant me grace to do the same.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Chuck Lawless is dean and vice president of graduate studies and ministry centers at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. This article first appeared at chucklawless.com. Used by permission.)