Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Family, Study, Prayer--Thoughts From "America's Pastor"

I recently read a Q & A with America's Pastor, Billy Graham, as he recently turned 90 years old. Now many of us know who Billy Graham is so I won't go into a description, but one question in particular did catch my attention. Dr. Graham was asked, "Do you have any regrets?" and I could almost answer the question for him: "Why no, of course not!" Why should he have any regrets? He is considered one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century, advised presidents, rubbed shoulders with other icons of the world and celebrity types alike. He saw millions around the world come to Jesus! What regrets could he have? Well, after being asked the question, here is what Dr. Graham, a man much wiser than I, had to say:
I regret that I didn't spend more time with my family; I'm sure Ruth and the children paid a heavy price for all the times I was absent. I always tell younger evangelists not to feel like they have to accept every invitation they get, or be absent from home so much. We can do so much today through modern communications.

And then I also wish I had studied more, and spent more time in prayer.
  1. Time with family
  2. Study
  3. Prayer

This is very sobering for a young, single guy like me in seminary, where I have both the opportunity to look into history to see the impact of Billy Graham and also the opportunity to strive forward in not having the same regrets as he does. Furthermore, I think these are potent words for Christian men all over the world in all fields of work, recognizing that these three things--family, study, and prayer--deserve and demand our fullest attention and top prioritization as we walk with Christ. Understandable that work is necessary and should be done well, but work does not require our heart or devotion like these three do and we must never lose sight of that. I have heard too many stories of husbands who are married to their church or their job and not to their wives. I have heard too many stories of absent fathers who do not lead by example for their children. I have heard too many stories of men whose work destroys their devotional lives to where they haven't prayed or spent time in Scripture for days or weeks.

Please, let us see clearly, without fogged, arrogant lenses, these words of the wise, humble man of 90 years, Billy Graham, and take them to heart, praying and fighting with all that God's Spirit gives us strength to fight for intimacy with our families, devoted study in God's Word, and passionate prayer to Him in all things.

By His Grace.

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