Billy Graham and Randy & Kathy Arnett
We all knew it was coming. Eventually, our friend Billy would die. He wasn’t perfect, but to some of us, he represented as close as it gets without having nail-scarred hands and a thorn-marked forehead. Still, even though we were expecting it, Billy’s death filled us with a mixture of sadness and joy when it happened. We are sad because our role model had left us but joyful because he had been made whole. But I found myself having another emotion, inspiration.
Billy had impacted the world with one simple yet life-changing message, the gospel of Jesus Christ. He had largely avoided politics and anything less worthy than the calling he had received. He focused on being a guide to everyone he met, from beggers to presidents; Muslims and Jews; prisoners and celebrities. He treated them all the same. They all admired him and were willing to listen to what he had to say about Jesus. We have lost the greatest evangelist the world has ever seen…and WHO IS LEFT TO REPLACE HIM?!
Franklin can’t fill his daddy’s shoes, and he wasn’t meant to.
David Platt doesn’t have enough gray hairs to pull it off.
Ravi Zacharias has already established himself in apologetics.
John Piper is speaking prophetic words to a church that has strayed.
I’ve got news for you; God is not sending another Billy Graham.
Because that is my job and yours. The work of an evangelist is for mechanics and teachers, missionaries and real estate agents, and everything in between. God blessed us for a time with a Spiritual Grandfather to show us the way. But long before Billy inspired us, God called us to be His emissaries. Normal people who had been changed by an encounter with Jesus Christ. Throughout history, it was the ordinary people God has used to change the world, not the extraordinary.
This month we lost two more giants of the faith. You probably had never heard of them before this week. They were Randy and Kathy Arnett. Perfect examples of how God uses ordinary people to have a massive impact if they are just obedient. After more than 30 years of serving as missionaries in Africa, they went home. Randy had an insatiable desire to gain knowledge, leading him to a deeper understanding of his Creator. His desire to establish healthy churches and battle false teachings corrupting the body of Christ was also a lifelong pursuit.
I was working with Randy…wait, let me restate that. Randy was helping me (he was doing all the work) to develop some materials for churches to recognize false teachings and how to combat them. I leaned on him heavily. He was our resident expert. I read his notes and asked him questions. But I still have many questions and a lot to learn. Sadly, Randy is gone.
So what do we do when we lose our giants, our fathers in the faith? We double down, work harder, study longer, and share the gospel more often. Our highest tribute to those who went before us is to emulate them and continue the work that they started.
Here is my action plan. I’m going to buy some books and study harder, and I plan to share the gospel three times this week. What is your plan?