The problem is that all of this calls for hard decisions. You see, books in a library are not unlike old friends; and many of the volumes in my collection have been my friends since my college days decades ago.
Among those works in my library that I will not be discarding are those by and about Billy Graham. This fellow Southern Baptist Minister had the singular distinction of preaching the gospel to more people in person than any individual in human history. I have blogged numerous times before about Dr. Graham and his influence. (To see these many posts, type in Billy Graham in the search line above.)
The late Paul W. Powell once told the following story about Dr. Graham. According to Rev. Powell, it seems that…
Billy Graham was once speaking in Florida; and they picked him up in a beautiful stretch limousine. It was the finest car he had ever seen. Following his speech, they were taking him back to the airport; and he said to the chauffeur, “Sir, this is the finest car I’ve ever seen in my life. Would you mind if I drive it?”
The man said, “Mr. Graham, this is a very expensive car, and I am responsible for it. I’m not sure.” Graham said, “I’ll be very careful if you will just let me try.”
So, the chauffeur got out, moved into the backseat, and let Graham behind the steering wheel. He got on the freeway; and his foot got a little heavy; and he was going 80 miles per hour when a patrolman pulled him over.
Approaching the limo with its darkly tinted windows, the patrolman asked to see the license of the driver, whereupon he quickly recognized that it was none other than Dr. Billy Graham.
Thereafter, he immediately went back to his car, radioed the dispatch office, and said to his superior, “Sir, I’ve got a very important person in a limousine pulled over, and I don’t exactly know what to do.”
The dispatcher asked, “Oh, is it Shaquille O’Neal?” (Who played for the Miami Heat at the time.) The man replied, “No.” The dispatcher said, “Well is it Jeb Bush?” (At the time, Governor of Florida.) The man replied, “No.” The dispatcher said, “Is it President Bush?” (At the time, President of the U.S.A.) The man replied, “No.”
He said, “Well, who is it?” The man replied, “I don’t know, sir. But it may well be Jesus Himself, because Billy Graham is his chauffeur!”
Obviously, this is a fictitious story, designed to evoke humor. (After all, Dr. Graham’s official autobiography, Just As I Am, which was published in 1997, eleven years before his death on February 21, 2018, certainly does not record any such occurrence.)
But that does not change the fact that the story implies that the one person on earth who was (and still is) viewed as the closest person to Jesus Christ by American society at large was (and still is) Billy Graham.
Now, for me, this raises a question. How will I personally be remembered? Will I be remembered as someone who was very close to Jesus Christ? Or when I am recalled, will Jesus Christ not even come to mind?
Rest assured that I am not alone here. For the same question might very well be applied to you also!
At this point, you may be wondering if you yourself would be remembered as having been close to God! I trust you would be. But if not, then consider these words from the New Testament Letter of James the Apostle to the members of the church at large:
7“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9Grieve, mourn, and weep. Turn your laughter to mourning, and your joy to gloom. 10Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you.”
No doubt, this is exactly how Billy Graham chose to live his life. No doubt this is also why we still remember him the way we do! Of course, if you and I would be remembered as Billy Graham is remembered today, then we would do well to live our lives much as Dr. Graham did!
Who’s who in your life? More to the point – who should be?!
Paul W. Powell Laugh and Live Longer: Good Humor to Brighten and Lighten Your Life (Self Published by Paul W. Powell, 5603 Elderwood Drive, Tyler, Texas 75703, 2008 A.D.).
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