It seemed to me that most who attended Wheaton College felt the weight of the Reverend Billy Graham; a certain sense of responsibility to first, study to the best of our ability and then strive to impact the world as the College’s motto proclaims: “For Christ and His Kingdom”. His passing marks the end of an era of revival which swept across the country, and indeed the world, in part because of his dichotomously personal yet universal message, “Come… for if you tarry ‘til you’re better you will never come at all” as the hymn proclaims.
I am not qualified to speak about his personal life as a father, husband, and friend, and as an alumnus of his alma mater my connection to him is one of loose association, yet what I can speak to is his personal impact on me. That to stand at his podium, which is housed at the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College, was for me a sort of “second call”.
I have a personal relationship with Jesus, which was my first call. The second came after reading that Rev. Graham struggled with a fear of public speaking. This man who spoke before millions! This is the power of Christ in the Christian. That our weakness, as the Apostle Paul wrote, give us reason to boast not shrink back. My second call is to boast in my weakness that should I impact anyone or anything for the better it should be as a result of a power outside myself. Placing my hands on the wood of his podium one could imagine the very word of God which was so frequently preached from its place was calling out for a new generation of leaders set apart for Christ.
This should serve as a challenge to my generation, to use whatever gifts and as presented above, weaknesses, to impact our communities, cities, country and this world. As Billy Graham said, “When we come to the end of ourselves, we come to the beginning of God.” For the sake of this world run then, run to the end of yourselves so that we may begin doing what we are called to do.
This man of God, champion of the faith, “Pastor to Presidents” who impacted me so greatly through both his preaching and legacy— whose desire to see others come to know Christ as he knew, welcomed now into glory will forever be an Evangelist for the World.