Finish Joyfully

By Rand Kreycik

 

As I write this post, the world is grieving the loss of a great man.  In the coming days, this man’s casket will lie in state in the U.S. Capitol rotunda – an honor afforded only to “four private citizens in the history of the United States.”*  Of course this man is Billy Graham.

While one can laud Mr. Graham’s earthly achievements – and they are many:  adviser to U.S. Presidents for decades, preaching the gospel to millions at his famous crusades, founding organizations that will live on for years due to his vision and leadership – my thoughts turn today to the finish line.

In his letter to the Philippians, the Apostle Paul wrote:

Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.  (Philippians 3:12-14 – ESV)

Billy Graham would have concurred heartily.  Many people consider him one of the greatest examples in our era of Christian faithfulness and integrity.  In the coming days, I look forward to hearing the many accolades that will be offered in his honor.  He certainly ran his race well, and I hope that I will finish half as well as this great saint.

But … do you suppose Billy Graham thought he would stand in the presence of God and puff out his chest as he laid down all the treasures he had collected through his long, faithful life?  I can’t imagine that for a moment!  Mr. Graham no doubt knew better than many of us that he was simply a product of grace.  He had gained nothing in this life that he had not received, and when he finally stood (or bowed) in His beloved Lord’s presence, his joy was complete.  Indeed, what greater joy could there be than laying our crowns at the feet of the Lord who loves us so and paid such an unbelievable price for us?

I don’t know when my day will come.  It may be ten or twenty years from now, or it may be tomorrow.  I too will bow in my Lord’s presence and lay at his feet the talents I have invested.  Like my brother Billy Graham, I want to spend the rest of my days living well and courageously for the King who gave all for me.  Like Billy Graham – and like millions of faithful saints who have gone before – I too joyfully look forward to hearing the words spoken by my Lord, “Well done!”

 

*Email sent from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 2/23/2018.

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