Billy Graham has graduated. One of the things I’ve heard in the last ten days or so is this question: Who will fill Billy Graham’s shoes. While that’s a powerful question but not necessarily the one that we should be asking ourselves right now.
The voice and message of Billy have been heard by hundreds of millions in person and probably Billions through different forms of media. If there has ever been a human being that understands how much faster a messages spreads through multiplication. Billy lived multiplication. The sacrifice and literally months away from home and away from his family because he believed not just in his calling but in his message.
Sure there are people that will continue to fill Billy’s shoes. Dr. Graham had more than one pair. Bono will spread his message like he has in a very different way of reading scripture or singing Psalm Forty over sold-out crowds, or his son Franklin and grandson Will, along with Greg Laurie continue to hold crusades around the globe, Rick Warren will continue to call us to driven by purpose, Louie Giglio will focus on reaching the next generation now, and others will rise up. The real question we should be asking is who will fill our shows. What are we going to do while we are here?
Dr. Graham and I share the same faith in Jesus. Many of you know I’ve spent part of my life sharing that same message as a profession. These days my calling has moved me into some new places while still driven by the same urgency that one day I won’t be on this earth any longer. Over the last days with tributes, memorials, and interviews I was taken back how relevant Billy was to the time he was living in. While he was getting his message out in a tent the media caught on and then he leveraged radio and tv like none other, his funeral (that his family called his final crusade) was streamed across that internet and on Facebook LIVE. Even after his death, he was still ahead of the curve with using effective methods to get his message heard. Generations from now you will be able to trace the influence and legacy of the evangelist from Montreat.
The most powerful moment for me was when Franklin Graham asked, “If this was your funeral…?” Would you be ready to die? most us aren’t prepared to live much less die. When you understand what you are living for and how short your time is here you learn to focus your life on the thing that matter. Dr. Graham famously said, “When you’re prepared to die you also are prepared to live.” Whether or not you are a person of faith or not you are still tasked with living. So get to living. Billy had 99 years who knows how many you have.
The sooner we can all do the work we were made to do the better the world will be. What will live on after you are gone? How many of us will it take to fill your shoes?