This weekend will mark a milestone in American and, indeed, world history. The passing last week of the most listened-to evangelist in history will be commemorated this coming weekend at the Billy Graham Library in Asheville, North Carolina. The world will watch. Dignitaries will fly in from all over the planet.
And let’s remember as we watch that we are celebrating a homegoing, marked by hope… and joy… and gratitude. It should be, and will be, a memorable day.
But let’s also remember one more thing. Billy Graham’s ministry marks the end of an influential, Christian statesman and preacher’s voice on this planet. But I would imagine the line is still formed in Heaven by those who are there because of this faithful, godly man’s ministry and eternal impact.
A couple of decades ago, an influential and godly pastor in my life died suddenly. He had come and led my home church into a glorious period of ministry and, at a distance, kept my spiritual life alive. He ordained me to ministry and baptized me at age 9. His death rattled me… and raised some serious spiritual questions in my mind.
During that time, the ministry of Chuck Swindoll had also taken off and I had listened diligently to this great teacher of God’s Word. He was ending his series on the life of Moses when my pastor died. His remarks were sent from God to me at that time as he said two things in his broadcast on the day of my pastor’s funeral:
- When a man of God dies, nothing of God dies. God raises up one man, and calls another away. The ministry of God does not rely on man. Never has, never will.
- When a man of God dies, He always has a Joshua waiting. The ministry baton is always passed on to another whom God will raise in due time.
While I have some good ideas about who Joshua will NOT be, I’m not sure I can say who it will be. I just know that there is one God has prepared to receive the mantle of Moses when Moses is no longer on the scene.
“And so we do not lose heart.” We do not despair. We express our gratitude for the one God sends, and listen carefully to the one God has already chosen to be Joshua.
So this weekend, express your gratitude. Share your thought and memories of Billy with others. Don’t forget his influence. But remember this one thing as you do:
Nothing of God has died.