4 Legacy Lessons from Billy and Ruth Graham
"My home is in Heaven. I'm just traveling through this world." Billy Graham
Billy Graham is home.
Can you imagine him seeing Jesus face to face that first time?
When I think of the ministry of Billy Graham, I immediately think of his wife, Ruth, too.
I am overwhelmed by their legacy. The impact they have had on the kingdom will never be known this side of heaven.
But legacies like theirs don't happen by accident. They are intentional.
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Might we all learn a few lessons from the Grahams.
4 Legacy Lessons from the Grahams
1. Living A Life Of Humility
Billy and Ruth Graham maintained their humility all the way to the grave.
Both Billy and Ruth Graham opted for pine caskets made by prisoners from the Angola Prison in Louisiana.
My first instinct was to think there are no two people who deserve gold-gilded caskets covered in rubies and diamonds than the Grahams. Then I realized they don't need fancy caskets because they are now wearing their crowns in heaven.
That was the heart of their ministry. They stored their treasures in heaven.
May we follow their lead and keep our eyes fixed on Jesus as we live a life of humility.
2. Honoring Marriage Vows
And two shall become one.
While her husband was preaching to the masses, she was making sure the family unit stayed strong.
Her husband recognized the importance of maintaining a strong family unit and especially the role of mothers.
“The influence of a mother upon the lives of her children cannot be measured. They know and absorb her example and attitudes when it comes to questions of honesty, temperance, kindness, and industry.”
Billy Graham would have never been BILLY GRAHAM without Ruth taking care of the home front and supporting his ministry as he traveled the world. She was as important in the kingdom work as he.
Graham called his wife “the greatest Christian I ever knew” after her death at 87 on June 14, 2007.
“She was the only one in whom I completely confided. She was a great student of the word of God. Her life was ruled by the Bible more than any individual I have ever known. When it comes to spiritual things, my wife has had the greatest influence on my ministry.”
May we all have a bit of Ruth in us.
There is honor in supporting our mates and encouraging them to be all God intends them to be.
3. Protecting Your Ministry
Notice how there was never a scandal in Billy Graham's ministry? Pretty hard to believe in this day and age. Can you even fathom how the enemy schemed and plotted to take down this ministry?
From the onset of his ministry, Billy Graham was wise enough to know the appearance of impropriety can be as deadly as actual impropriety in kingdom work.
He had strict safeguards in place to ensure neither happened.
He would not ride the elevator alone with a woman. He never road in a car alone with a woman. He never allowed an inappropriate relationship, whether physical or emotional, to derail his sharing of the Gospel.
We would be wise to take these same precautions.
Safeguards are necessary for all of us.
4. Keeping the Gospel at the Forefront
Regardless of the Scriptures he preached or the stories he shared, it always led back to the saving grace of Jesus Christ.
He never lost sight of why he traveled the ends of the earth. He wanted the whole world to know they could have eternal life in heaven because of the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross.
I am not going to Heaven because I have preached to great crowds or read the Bible many times. I'm going to Heaven just like the thief on the cross who said in that last moment: 'Lord, remember me.'
As Christians, we each have a story of how Jesus saved us. May we be bold in sharing that love with others.
While we may not travel to foreign lands, let us never forget the land in front of us. We should constantly share and lift up those in our homes, our workplaces, and our churches.
At the end of the day, may we all ask ourselves, what will my legacy be?