Lessons Learned from Billy Graham’s Grandson

By Will Graham   •   November 6, 2013

Billy and Will Graham

There are many things that a grandfather can leave for his grandson. For instance, the grandson may carry his grandfather’s looks, legacy or worldview. He may even receive his possessions.

For me, when I sit and contemplate my grandfather, Billy Graham, I think that one of the greatest gifts he has given me in his twilight years is something more subtle. He’s given me a lesson.

In Paul’s second letter to Timothy, he writes an inspirational sentence that most of us know well: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:7, ESV). I can’t help but think about that verse when I think about my grandfather.

You see, this wonderful and godly man who turns 95 this week – not just loved by me, his grandson, but loved by so many around the world – is constantly teaching me an amazing lesson, and that lesson is how to finish well.

For six decades he traveled the world telling people in 185 countries and territories across six continents about the love and hope that can be found in a relationship with Jesus Christ. Over the course of his ministry, marathons of preaching blended together to the point where he was on the road for months at a time. He’d hold events that lasted week-after-week, just to pick up and begin another outreach soon after.

My grandfather did all of this for one simple reason: he had a love and a burden for people, and has always desperately wanted them to know the same hope for eternity that he has.

About eight-and-a-half years ago, in June 2005, my grandfather held the last of his iconic Billy Graham Crusades. At 86 years of age, he took the stage on three blistering hot days at Flushing Meadows, N.Y., to preach his final event.

He could have gone home after that and spent his remaining days contemplating a life well spent. Maybe – if his body was strong enough – he could have returned to some of those distant locations where he preached as a younger man, but this time for leisure and enjoyment.

But he’s never really done either of those things. Why? It’s because that burden and burning that God put in his heart more than a half-century ago still rages today. Though his body has weakened, his passion for the Gospel has not.

For this reason, after his “retirement,” he has gone on to preach at a couple of my father’s events (including one in New Orleans following the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina); he has written multiple books; and he has prepared a new message to share. This message, titled “The Cross,” has already been recorded and is being released this week as the focal point of a massive ministry outreach called My Hope America with Billy Graham.

To me, my grandfather’s urgency to preach the Gospel one more time to a lost and dying world is the definition of “finishing well,” and it’s such a blessing and lesson.

While many of us know the verse I mentioned above, it’s also worth looking at the verses surrounding it, 2 Timothy 4:6-8 (ESV). “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved His appearing.

One day my grandfather’s “time of departure” will come. Until then, we’re cherishing him and the lessons he continues to teach us. He’s fighting the good fight, he’s finishing the race, and he’s keeping the faith.  He’s ready for eternity. He’s finishing well.

Click here to check your local television listings so you can watch Billy Graham’s final message, “The Cross.”

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27 Comments

  1. stephen says:

    I respect you so much Sir – your love of our Lord Jesus and your clear way of communicating the Bible, your modeling of a devoted husband, loving father – I think you will hear “Well done good and faithful servant”with love – stephen

  2. Carole says:

    Thank you Billy Graham for telling people about Jesus all these years. You are an inspiration, and I wish you a happy and blessed birthday!

  3. Mina says:

    You are the messenger that God has sent for this time. May all come to the cross and repentance through Jesus Christ. Happy Birthday we need you.

  4. Charles says:

    God is good to have blessed our lives with God's message of “saved by grace” . I have been reading your book “Just As I Am”!! I'll be 65 on November 14th. No, I am not Prince Charles. God Bless this ministry outreach!!

  5. Tiffany says:

    Amazing, what a blessing to have God use life to reach others for His glory. Happy Birthday, Billy Graham. I saw you in Atlanta in the 90's when my mother took me with her to see you preach.

  6. Happy Birthday Dr. Graham. says:

    I first heard you preach when I was a child, attending the crusade at Madison Square Garden. I grew up in a Christian home and 'knew' the Lord but didn't realize until that night that I was a sinner and needed to repent. Now I'm working at BGEA.

  7. Beth says:

    Happy Birthday Mr. Graham, You are so inspiring in teaching the word of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Iam so thankful and blessed to have gone to one of your Crusades in the 80's. You truly are a great example of someone that love's our Lord.

  8. Stephen says:

    On Billy Graham's 95th Birthday, Will Graham Shares About 'Finishing Well' Your Gospel message sir clears the fog within us and we see the finishing line, the edge of heaven clearly. Have a great birthday with Jesus' love. Amen.

  9. Corina says:

    Happy Birthday, Dr. Graham! You continue to teach and inspire. Your message and you have never waivered. The Cross, and how much God loves each of us and wants us to give ourselves to Jesus as he gave himself for us. Thank you for changing my life.

  10. Rebecca says:

    Happy Birthday, Dr. Graham! May you be blessed today as your message to the world is presented. May God continue to bless you and use your love for His Word to speak to many more millions of hearts for the kingdom of Christ!God bless you!