Finishing Well

I was driving down the road when the news broke that “America’s pastor has died”.

Please don’t think I am a mystic, a guru, or smoking dope or something, but I felt a thud in my heart. Not one of shock, dismay, unbelief or pain. But a spiritual sense that our dark, sin-sick, wayward, searching world had just lost a bright, shining light for Christ. 

Billy Graham was and is a modern-day hero in God’s hall of fame of faith. Always a humble sinner saved by grace, compassionate and passionate, Dr. Graham has been a spiritual giant among men. Yes, he passed away like we all will one day. But when his heart stopped beating, he was ushered into the glorious presence of the Lord he loved and faithfully lifted up before tens of millions of men, women, boys and girls throughout eighty years of being an evangelist of the Good News.

Dr. Graham, in his personal life and ministry, heeded and fulfilled the words Paul gave to young Timothy, his son in the faith, who was preparing for Christian service as a minister of the Good News of Jesus Christ.

“Preach the Word, be ready in season and out of season, reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. Be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist fulfill your ministry.

For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but to all who have loved His appearing.”
II Timothy 4:2,5-8.

What I admire and respect about Dr. Graham is that he knew who he was in Christ.

He was an unashamed Christian through and through. He never questioned what Jesus had done for Him by dying on the Cross and rising from the dead. He never wavered from the Bible, preaching with fervent love and compassion, always inviting sinners to come to Christ. No wonder the poorest of the poor, everyday common people, and world heads- of- state heard him gladly.

Billy Graham was a Christian man of impeccable integrity. He didn’t compromise the Gospel to follow some faddish trend in the body of Christ. He stayed true to His Lord, never allowing cultural distraction, political influence or Satan’s constant attacks to prevent him from lifting up the name of Jesus. He was loved, respected admired and honored. Multitudes received Christ into their heart because it was obvious that Dr. Graham loved the Lord with all his heart. The love of God poured through his heart to the precious people for whom Christ sacrificed Himself so they could be saved. 

When I think of Billy Graham, I think about Jesus and what a wonderful Savior He is.

In my estimation, if anybody has faithfully and victoriously fought the good fight, stayed on course and kept the faith, Billy Graham did.

Dr. Billy Graham’s homegoing has stirred me to seriously consider the following questions regarding my life as a follower of Christ.

  1. Do I really know who I am in Christ? Am I living a Christ-like life daily?
  2. Am I faithfully fighting the good fight of faith with God’s help every day?
  3. Am I fulfilling my calling to the ministry of sharing the Good News with the lost souls in my sphere of influence?
  4. Am I staying the course God has laid out for me, keeping the faith every step of the way, never wavering from or compromising the Word?
  5. Am I looking forward to receiving the “crown of righteousness” from the Lord one day when my course on earth is finished?

I know how I am evaluating my life at this time according to Paul’s words to Timothy. At sixty-fives years young (did you see I said young!) after deep soul-searching, I am determined more than ever to do my best, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to live and eventually end my earthly life well, bringing glory and honor to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

I want to finish well. How about you?   

I am currently reading one of, if not, the last book Dr. Graham wrote. It is called “Where I Am”. I highly recommend it to you. This excellent work is based on Jesus’ words to His followers in John 14:1-3 which reads “Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for You, I will come again and receive you to Myself, THAT WHERE I AM, THERE YOU MAY BE ALSO.”   

This day, and for all eternity, Billy Graham is where Jesus is. Without a doubt, based on his consistent, passionate personal confession of Christ, Billy Graham has heard Jesus say ”Well done good and faithful servant, enter into the joy or your Lord.” (Matthew 25).

The promise from Christ “that where I am there you may be also” isn’t just for the likes of Billy Graham

It is for all who choose to believe in Jesus. For everyone, who like you and I who have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. As sinners by nature, you and I started life on the wrong foot. But thanks be to God, though we didn’t start life well, we can receive Jesus into our hearts and finish well!

The glory of the Good News in Christ is that you and I can walk  by faith all the way to eternal life in heaven where the Lord is! 

Oh my, imagine seeing Jesus face to face! I can hardly wait to hear Jesus say to me, a sinner saved by grace “Steve, well done good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Lord.” 

What a day that will be! Lord Jesus come quickly! Amen. 

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that you toil is not in vain in the Lord.”
I Corinthians 15:58

A Word For Your Week:
Finish well to hear “Well done” from the Lord.