Friday, March 2, 2018

On the Passing of Billy Graham

As the USA buries Billy Graham with state honors, and as he leaves behind an estate worth millions, I remember John Wesley who died in poverty today March 2, 1791 at the age of 81.  Wesley not only died in poverty, but lived in poverty most of his life, spending his money and possessions lavishly to help people in need.

The celebrity preachers that Billy Graham helped spawn live out the epigram "God helps those who help themselves," a phrase that so many people -- including my mother -- are convinced is in the Bible (it's not).  These rich and famous preachers who are accustomed to having the attention of the powerful certainly have "helped themselves" throughout their careers.  We can only hope that God helps them.

Wesley lived out the self-sacrificial demand that Christ made of the rich young man, to sell all that we have, give the money to the poor, take up our cross, and follow Him.  That's a demand that most of us mortals can't meet, and none of us can meet perfectly.   But Wesley tried, not to save his soul or to win glory, but that the Good News of the Life, Death, and Resurrection of Christ be made real and spread.

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