Monday, August 1, 2016

Don't Quit!

Thumb 154461 1024I picked up Nearing Home, by Billy Graham on audio, then waited a long time to listen to it. I hadn’t expected his wise words to have such an impact on me. We all know Mr. Graham, at least at some level. His crusades around the globe have been seen by multiplied millions. If you have had a chance to attend one of those crusades in person, it stays with you. Billy Graham has been known as the “pastor” to Presidents and Kings. Many of the great leaders of the world have sought his counsel for well over fifty years.

I fully expected Mr. Graham's wisdom in this book, written after he had turned 90. What surprised me was his passion! Here is a man who traveled the world to talk about Jesus, sometimes so weak and sick that he thought he wouldn’t be able to preach. In those times, he asked God to give him strength and focus, only to see God provide for him over and over again. This man, who has seen hundreds of thousands respond to his invitation to receive Christ, rings the bell loudly: “Don’t quit! Live every day to the fullest. Don’t fall into the temptation to just take it easy when you near the end of this life.”

If Billy Graham had written those words in his thirties, they would be meaningful. Coming from a nonagenarian (look it up!), they are downright convicting!

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Another man who intrigues me is Warren Buffett, who turns 86 this month. If it’s the “American Dream” to make enough to retire and relax, Buffett should have been done a long, long time ago. The man insists on living a relatively simple, frugal life and is giving away most of his wealth to charity. Like Billy Graham, Buffett could have left well enough alone and “retired” a long time ago. Again, like Graham, Buffett keeps doing what his strength allows to make every day count.

Why is it so important to both Graham and Buffett that their days count during this sunset period of life? I came up with one word that seems to drive them: “future.” Even as they near the end, they both want to invest every day doing what they can to help others change their future. They both shine as examples of Psalm 92:14: Even in old age they will still produce fruit.” (New Living Translation) Their commitment goes far beyond their own work ethic, though. They are both sounding the call for others to join them. “Don’t quit!”

All this summer at Stone Ridge Church, we have dug into the stories of Elijah and Elisha, two men of God who stood against the tide of evil in their generation. As Elijah passed his work on to Elisha, it was with an eye to the future. What did Elisha do at the end? We pick that up this weekend, with the final installment of “Don’t Blink!” I hope you can join us!