How to Change the World: Be a Billy Graham
- Sue Schlesman Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
- 2018 22 Feb
Wouldn’t it be cool to change the world?
I don’t feel like a person who could do that. You probably don’t, either. But I’ll bet that whenever the world changes for good, it happens through the daily activity of ordinary people, living extraordinary lives.
One of those people just died this morning.
Before 8:00 morning, Billy Graham entered his eternal glory during his 100th year of life. He lived worthy. He lived a life that changed the world. Here are some impressive stats about his ministry:
- 215 million people attended
- 400 crusades and rallies
- 185 countries and territories
- 34 books
prayed with every American President from Truman to Obama
He has numbers most preachers and writers would envy. He did it without personal scandal, with the woman he loved for his entire life. No social media. He just preached the clear gospel and let the Holy Spirit move unimpeded over his audiences.
I’m challenged when I think about his legacy and his character. Maybe you are, too, so here are a couple things to consider:
- What do I want to be remembered for when I die?
- If I could only accomplish one thing in life, what would it be?
- If I have a successful life, will people say I was gracious, humble, courageous, and giving? Or will they remember that I was ambitious, unforgiving, afraid, and prideful?
- What is your strategy for achieving greatness?
I just returned Sunday from staying at the Billy Graham Training Center, called The Cove, nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains near Asheville, NC. Stunning views, accommodating staff, and Graham memorabilia makes his place feel reverent and holy. There, Billy and Ruth Graham are honored but not worshipped. They are loving mentors rather than American celebrities.
Truly great leadership emerges from pure hearts, pure motives, and pure actions. Eternity and legacy sit as judges.
Thank you, Billy Graham, for giving us your life as an example to follow.
"Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, Who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god. They will receive blessing from the Lord and vindication from God their Savior. Such is the generation of those who seek him, Who seek your face, God of Jacob." (Psalm 24:3-6)
Photo courtesy: BillyGraham.org
Sue Schlesman is a Christian author, high school English teacher, pastor’s wife, and speaker. She has a BA in Creative Writing and a Master’s in Theology & Culture. Her second book Soulspeak: Praying Change into Unexpected Places released in August 2019. Sue’s material appears in a variety of print, online, radio, and podcast mediums. She has a passion for missions, social justice, traveling, reading, and the local church. Sue has been married to her husband Shane for 30 years, and they have 3 adult sons. You can find her in Richmond, VA, writing about life, education, family, and Jesus at sueschlesman.com.