“If you came on a bus, they will wait”. I remember that line distinctly. When he said it, the importance, the gravity of the moment was obvious. Hundreds were moving down the steps of the state fair grandstand. Some were crying, some smiling, all shuffling forward to stand before the stage and receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. And somewhere amid that shuffling and gravity we sang “Just As I Am”. At that time, late 60’s or early 70’s, I already considered myself a Christian, saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. I was deeply moved but I did not go forward.
Billy Graham has died. God gave him 99 years of life and an astonishing amount of ministry influence. I have met a number of people who became Christians at Billy Graham Crusades. I have had students whose parents became believers through his ministry .
We need to remember, from this life that was lived so well and used so greatly, some basic truths.
First, Jesus Christ wants people to put their faith in him. He wants to forgive their sins and grant them everlasting life. Graham was passionate about this truth and he was right. To see someone move from unbelief to belief, from death to life is about the most moving thing we will ever witness.
Second, we need to give thanks. God uses flesh and blood to bring His good news to others. You and I may not have the influence and skills of Billy Graham but he would no doubt tell us that we should never let that stop us from explaining to at least one person that Jesus Christ loves them and wants to forgive their sins and give them eternal life!
I am thankful for Billy Graham, for his message, and for the God who called and equipped him.
~Pastor Arlan Koppendrayer