op-ed

The Impeccable Integrity Of Billy Graham By Graham’s Former ‘Pastor’

Billy Graham Getty Images/Mario Tama

O.S. Hawkins CEO of GuideStone Financial Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention
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One of the most powerful Christian voices since the Apostle Paul is now silent in death. But, like righteous Abel, Billy Graham “though dead still speaks.” He lived a pure life and left a profound legacy.

In death he speaks of the importance of influence. Influence, this often-overused word, comes from two words in Latin — “in” and “flow”. The word picture is of a mighty river flowing crystal clear with a deep and strongly moving current. Into this river flow many different little streams, creeks and tributaries which are “caught up in its flow.” Count me among the millions across the decades all over the world who have been caught up in the flow of the Christ Billy Graham so faithfully proclaimed. At home with kings or presidents, or those of us more common, Mr. Graham carried us along in the flow of his own life exemplified by a reputation that was spotless and a character that was beyond reproach.

It was my great joy to be called his “pastor” during my years at the First Baptist Church in Dallas where, at that time, he kept his church membership. I always found him the same whether eating with him in his favorite chain restaurant with a baseball cap pulled down over his ears or seeing him stand before scores of thousands in many of the great stadiums of the world.

What separates someone like him from others? Many would say it is intellect, for knowledge is power in our world today. Certainly, Mr. Graham was bright, if not brilliant. In his younger days few if any would want to debate him. Others might say it is intensity, that passionate ability to sway crowds and build vision among our followers. He had no equal here. But, in watching his life we are led to say his greatest attribute was his personal integrity.

There are those who have possessed amazing intellect but, sadly, were found to have little or no integrity and they are no longer running the race. There are also those with a passion and an intensity displaying incredible persuasive abilities, but who were found, along the way, to have no integrity and have joined the list of those who have been forgotten. Billy Graham lived a life of impeccable integrity…his life matched his lips…his walk matched his talk…and after a century of life the same could be said of him what the Psalmist of old said of King David, “He led his people with the integrity of his heart and the skillfulness of his hands.” (Psalm 78:72).

Heaven is sweeter today because of his presence and if anyone ever heard the words of our Lord saying, “Well done, good and faithful servant”, they were heard on Wednesday morning when Billy Graham entered His eternal home. He didn’t leave home…He went home!

And “being dead, he still speaks” saying, “Whosever will may come…Jesus saves!”

O.S. Hawkins, well-known faith leader and bestselling author of the popular “Code” series – The Believer’s Code, The Jesus Code, The Joshua Code, The Daniel Code and The James Code – is President and chief executive officer of GuideStone Financial Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.


The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.