Writer, editor, stumbler after Jesus

In praise of Billy Graham’s feet

I’m not a contributor to the new book that celebrates the life and legacy of Billy Graham, but if I had been I would have wanted to express my appreciation of his great feet.

This is is no way meant to downplay or disparage the unmatched global reach and impact of this remarkable man as he looks back on decades of ministry from his mid-nineties.

The Bible does call us to give honor where it is due, and in that spirit I welcome the publication of Thank You, Billy Graham, the new book drawn from the hundreds of comments left on a website created by his grandchildren

Sadly, though, too often in the Christian world we’ve weighed significance by the world’s faulty scales. Size, popularity, trendiness.

But what’s truly most admirable about Dr. Graham for me is not the things that he has done, so much as his faithfulness. Whether he was speaking to kings or commoners, his simple and unswerving message was the same: Jesus.

When Paul writes passionately in Romans 10 of the need for people to hear the gospel, he quotes the Old Testament to herald those who take the message:

“How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” (Isaiah 52:7).

Note that he doesn’t praise their lips (how well they speak), or their looks (how popular they are). He doesn’t emphasize their delivery. Rather, he celebrates their departure; that they go to where they are sent. He is glad for their feet.

By that measure, we can all be Billy Grahams. We may not get sent into the limelight. In fact, we may be called to the shadows. But faithfulness and fruitfulness may be more seen in the where than the what. They can also be found in the how.

One of the contributors to the new book thanks Dr. Graham for the manner in which he moved his feet in response to God’s direction. “His ‘Christ walk’ made me want a Christ walk of my own,” the person writes.

“When I read how he went out of his way to protect the reputation of his ministry by making a rule that his male employees weren’t to interact with females alone, I thought it was extreme, but it showed how serious he was about his walk. Now, with so many church scandals, I always say, ‘They should have used Billy’s method.'”

Dr. Graham took the gifts God gave him, and walked through the doors He opened. We can all do that. It’s about the feet, not the feat.

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