The Rev. Billy Graham died at age 99 after spending seven decades faithfully preaching God’s word to millions and touching hearts and souls around the world.
As the nation celebrates the life of the Rev. Billy Graham, who died less than a year shy of his 100th birthday, I’m posting some of my favorite of his quotes.
1. “My home is in Heaven. I’m just traveling through this world.”
It’s one of the quotes most often mentioned over the past few days. I think Graham is surely there.
2. “I would not call myself today a fundamentalist. I have changed. I fellowship with all groups who claim to know God. I have warm friends among Jewish leaders and Catholic leaders and the various Protestant denominations that in the earlier years of my ministry, I thought I was a heretic or something if I went out of my way to greet them.”
I respect the fact that a religious leader of his caliber could grow within his own faith to expand his circle. Too few religious people are willing to even consider that these days.
3. “I will be a friend to men of both parties, but I would never say that I was, even indicated that I was, for one or the other. I am for God. I don’t think there’s any hope for the world except in God.”
He made that statement to USA Today about his relationships with presidents. He met with every president from Harry Truman to Barack Obama.
4. “Heaven doesn’t make this life less important; it makes it more important.”
Why? To remind us who believe that we have a responsibility — if we truly love our neighbors as we’re supposed to through our faith — to help spread the good news and be to them what we believe Christ is to us.
5. “Christ not only died for all: he died for each.”
Think about the distinction here. It wasn’t that Jesus died on a cross for “the masses.” He died for you and every other individual. It’s a message and an act that was very deeply personal.
6. “When wealth is lost, nothing is lost; when health is lost, something is lost; when character is lost, all is lost.”
The so-called Billy Graham Rule, in which he would never be alone with a woman other than his wife, was an example of how seriously Graham took maintaining integrity.
7. “There is nothing wrong with men possessing riches. The wrong comes when riches possess men.”
The early church, as described in the Book of Acts, looked out for those in need rather than ridiculing them and scoffing them for not “working hard enough.” Many among today’s wealthy needs to read that chapter again.
8. “The framers of our Constitution meant we were to have freedom of religion, not freedom from religion.”
Too many seem to forget this. I haven’t the right to make you be silent on your beliefs any more than you have the right to demand my silence. Yes, there should be separation of church and state, but if you want to walk around with blinders on to religion, put them on yourself.
9. “It is the Holy Spirit’s job to convict, God’s job to judge and my job to love.”
I truly wish more of us could follow this pearl of wisdom.
10. “The moment we take our last breath on earth, we take our first in heaven.”
We still believe that.
May he rest in peace.