My Mother's Funeral, Billy Graham, And Being Yourself
After 99 years of a life devoted to sharing the gospel with nearly 215 million people, Billy Graham has gone home. I imagine a lot of saints are greeting him in heaven with overwhelming gratefulness for his obedience and faithfulness to fulfill his call as an evangelist. He was a man who loved God first, and as a result, he loved people deeply.
I wonder, though, do we see our call in the Kingdom of God as less valuable or less important than the call of someone like Billy Graham?
On a related note, I was sitting recently at the funeral of my 93-year-old mother, listening to the pastor of her church share about her life. With genuine love and a good dose of humor (my mother would've loved his message), he wove the story of her life into the overarching story of God's love for humans. Both my husband Rusty and I realized this pastor was a true spiritual shepherd. We sensed he is fulfilling his call in the Kingdom with all his heart, and he will receive a big reward in heaven. Called to be the pastor of a small church in a small town, Rev. Kelly Loken is walking in the same obedience and faithfulness as Billy Graham. And just as Billy Graham has received a great reward, this God-called leader of his little flock in Wisconsin will receive a great reward for his faithfulness in fulfilling his earthly assignment.
It is isn't about the immensity of our call, or how broad its scope on Earth. The point is, are we discovering our call, and pursuing it in fellowship with God? Are we endeavoring to get rid of the hindrances that stand in the way of being able to fulfill our call (Hebrews 12:1)? That may mean we need to pursue counseling for wounds and bondages that keep us from rising up into our God-given authority. Are we opening up ourselves to God and letting Him into all aspects of our lives? Is our relationship with God, and with other people who know God, growing deeper? If it is, the (super)natural outworking in our lives will be an obedience and faithfulness similar to Billy Graham and Kelly Loken. God has prepared the works for us. Our part is to press into knowing Him and letting ourselves be known by Him, until we understand how He made us, and what is our passion and call from Him.
One of my mother's spiritual gifts was hospitality. Some of my favorite memories are the holiday meals she cooked at our home. The house was filled with siblings and their spouses and grandchildren and aunts and uncles and cousins and delicious food and lots of laughter. And quite a few non-relatives at her funeral commented that Mom had warmly welcomed them into her home and had made them feel as though they belonged in the family. Mom was created to be a carrier of joy.
That was my mother walking out her call. She didn't preach to millions. She didn't preach to one hundred. But Mom did release fun and laughter, and she made people feel right at home whenever they visited. She poured out her hospitality with abandon, and now she's received her reward. And I know it's a generous one!
Be who you are meant to be, in Jesus. If that means being a great car mechanic or a pharmacist or an elementary school teacher, or a grocery clerk, do it with all your heart, and do it in fellowship with the Holy Spirit! Keep growing, let God in, and follow Him where He goes. Your reward will be great!
February 26, 2018, Janet Keller Richards.com
Top photo is from https://billygraham.org/story/billy-graham-named-on-most-admired-list-for-six-decades/