Yesterday, Billy Graham died at the age of 99. While a sad event, it was not necessarily a shock. He had been in failing health for some time. Billy Graham was a hugely influential evangelist. He hosted the Billy Graham Crusades every year from 1947-2005. He advised every United States President from Harry Truman to Barack Obama. It is estimated that he reached 215 million people. Graham was so influential that he has been referred to as “America’s Pastor.”
Billy Graham wasn’t perfect, nobody except Christ is. We all have flaws. There is no doubt that he was influential in sharing the Gospel. If we are honest with ourselves, he was far more influential as a Christian then we will ever be. Or was he? I’m sure by now you are thinking that was a typo or that I have lost it.
Billy Graham turned to Christ after attending a series or revivals led by Moredecai Ham. Couldn’t we say the Mordecai Ham was, therefore, just as influential as Billy Graham? After all, if there was no Moredecai Ham, there would have been no Billy Graham. What about the person that first shared their faith with Mordecai Ham?
It could be argued that Paul is the most influential person in Christianity, outside of Christ. However, in Acts, his conversion is traced back to a vision of Christ and an encounter with Ananias. If you want to go all the way back, all 2.2 billion of the world’s Christians can trace their “faith heritage” back to the disciples and Christ before them.
Don’t dismiss the influence of your Christian witness. We may not reach millions of people like Billy Graham, but who knows who the people we reach might be able to reach? Who know how far the influence of Christ in our lives may spread? You may, indirectly, influence hundreds, thousands, or even millions of people! If you don’t, if you only influence one person, remember that Jesus told the parable about the shepherd that left 99 sheep to seek the one lost sheep. Don’t discount the power of your Christian witness or what Christ can do through you and don’t be afraid to share how following Christ has changed your life!
Matthew 28:19-20: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”