“God has given me grace to speak a warning about pride. I would ask each of you to be emptied of self-promotion and not create a false image of your importance. Instead, honestly assess your worth by using your God-given faith as the standard of measurement, and then you will see your true value with an appropriate self-esteem.” Romans 12:3 TPT
I spent most of last week reflecting on the life and times of Dr. Billy Graham. Undisputedly, he was the most famous preacher of the twentieth century. Some say that he was the most influential evangelist since Jesus walked this earth. His public memorial was a testament to spiritual greatness.
When we think of fame, fortune, and worldly influence, humility is not what comes to mind. Dr. Graham had it all, but he never sought to have it all. Instead, his humility was the mark of his life. Serving Jesus was his only aspiration. In making that his primary goal, he was rewarded with all that anyone could ever desire.
Dr. Graham didn’t seek to make a lot of money, but he did. He didn’t seek to become the most prominent preacher in the world, but he did. Although he felt bad about the many absences from his family, serving Jesus was his priority. His reward was a dedicated and loving wife and family that also put God first in their lives. His children and grandchildren are part of the spiritual legacy that he left behind. His children have all left their mark on the worldwide spiritual landscape.
When I think of Dr. Graham, I am reminded of King Solomon’s request for wisdom. (2 Chronicles 1 and 1 Kings 3) Solomon never asked for fame or riches. Instead, he asked for wisdom to be a fair and just King. God was so pleased with his request that he gave him wisdom, fame, and riches.
King Solomon has the reputation of being the wisest man that ever lived. He wrote most of the book of Proverbs. Even today, in the 21st century, these Proverbs continue to provide wise guidance for our daily lives. By following them, we can ensure our physical and spiritual prosperity, a reputation for integrity, a happy family life, and healthy relationships with others.
Dr. Graham lived his life based on Biblical principles. By doing so, he became the wisest man in the past century. But what marked his life the most—was his humility about his worldly influence. He knew that he did not become great because of his own doing, but that it was God who gave him everything. And God, could—just as easily—take it all away.
We may never leave a legacy like King Solomon or Billy Graham. But if we pray, like King Solomon did, and follow the scriptures as Billy Graham did, we can lead lives of integrity and wisdom. Our reward may not be riches or fame on this earth, but our lives have a great impact.
We influence people every day by what we say and what we do. It’s important that we don’t under-estimate our own influence. But it’s equally important to not over-estimate it either.
We have one life. Our time on this earth is short. Let’s make our lives meaningful.
What legacy do you want to leave behind? What do you want people to say about you after you have left this earth?
Now grant me wisdom and knowledge so that I may lead these people, for who can judge this great people of Yours?”
God said to Solomon, “Since this was in your heart, and you have not requested riches, wealth, or glory, or for the life of those who hate you, and you have not even requested long life, but you have requested for yourself wisdom and knowledge that you may judge My people over whom I have made you king, wisdom and knowledge are given to you. I will also give you riches, wealth, and glory, unlike what was given to the kings who were before you, or will be given to those after you.” (2 Chronicles 1:10-13 HCSB)