I never got to meet Billy Graham personally. I remember the first time I ever heard of the famed evangelist. I was meeting with my pastor, I had given my life to Christ just a few months prior, and he mentioned something along the lines of, "You don't know what God has planned for you. You may be the next Billy Graham." My pastor wasn't prophesying over me that that would be so. He was simply encouraging me that God has a plan and purpose for my life. That was the first time I ever heard the name Billy Graham.
I may have never met Graham in person, but I know one day I'll meet him in heaven and will be able to tell him how much his life and ministry impacted me. I'm sure thousands will be able to do the same, because Billy Graham touched the lives of millions with the simple, yet life transforming message that is the Gospel. He preached with passion, humility, and great integrity. He was a general of the Christian faith.
What a life.
USA Today wrote of Billy Graham, "From the gangly 16-year-old baseball-loving teen who found Christ at a tent revival, Graham went on to become an international media darling, a preacher to a dozen presidents and the voice of solace in times of national heartbreak. He was America's pastor."
Billy believed in the message of the cross. He traveled the world telling as many people as he could about salvation found only in Jesus Christ. Ann Graham Lotz, a daughter to Billy Graham, said in a statement she posted on her Facebook page, "My prayer on this day of his move to Our Father's House is that his death will be a rallying cry. That tens of thousands of pastors, teachers, evangelists, and ordinary men and women will rise up to take his place. That they will take up his message like a baton being passed in a relay race and faithfully pass it on to those with whom they come in contact. Because Daddy's message is God's message. And it's a message of genuine hope for the future, of love for the present, of forgiveness for the past. It's a message, when received, that brings a fresh beginning, unshakable joy, unexplainable peace, eternal significance, meaning and purpose to life, and opens Heaven's door."
Like I said, I didn't know Dr. Graham personally, but judging by the message he lived by and the One whom he placed his faith and trust in, he would want you to know Jesus, to talk more about Jesus, and to tell others about Jesus.
Pastor and Evangelist Greg Laurie, of Harvest Christian Fellowship and Harvest America, took to Twitter, "A great man of God, Billy Graham has gone to Heaven. Heaven is richer and earth poorer as a result. Billy preached the Gospel to more people then any person who has ever lived. He was the same man privately that he was publicly. Billy was the most Christ-like man I have ever met."
May a new generation rise up to the same boldness and integrity that Dr. Graham had and may the message he preached for more than 60 years, the message of salvation found only in Jesus Christ, continue to impact lives for eternity. You ran the race well, Dr. Graham. We honor you.
This article first appeared on AaronHallBooks.com.