I remember when my grandma read Billy Graham’s Autobiography, cover to cover, over 700 pages, when she was in her late 80s. Maybe I remembered because it was the only other book I saw her reading besides the Bible. I suppose I was amazed at how large the book was and the ease she seemed to read it with. She seemed so enthralled in his story. I never forgot that.
This week Billy Graham went to heaven, at age 99, the day before my birthday. I thought of how this year I’ve had such a heart to walk in my purpose, how this was the first birthday I’ve ever dreaded getting older, and how a great man of faith entered his homecoming the day before. This led me to thinking about the legacy he left and the ones the rest of us are going to create.
Suddenly I couldn’t wait to get my hands on Billy Graham’s Autobiography.
And I did.
Within the first few pages of the introduction, I learned that Billy was hesitant to write the book because writing about over 50 years of worldwide ministry and fitting it into one volume was a real challenge. He decided to take on the project as a matter of recording history and leaving something behind for other ministers/evangelists to learn from. He was relatable and not much different from anyone else trying to impact the world. It is also awesome to be able to learn more about his wife Ruth–a lady who would’ve understood what military spouses experience during long separations for the sake of “the call.”
It is fascinating to read about someone who advised a president Truman about war with North Korea, and personally met the president of North Korea 42 years later when presenting him with a Bible. It is inspiring how someone with a simple message can impact countless thousands of lives. Then it is surprising that someone with an uncompromising, offensive message can be so popular (remember, the cross is offensive?).
How did I just gain so much inspiration in an introduction? That said, I believe this 700+ page book will be hard to put down. If you think about it, the length is comparable to a Harry Potter or a Sherlock Holmes volume. The difference is it is a true story recording a great legacy. That is something I want to learn from.