The Best Laid Plans. . .
Two weeks ago, I wrote the title for the week’s post early in the week. In the interim, life intervened via the horrific school shooting in southern Florida. Needless to say, that post awaits completion.
No problem I thought. I’ll just return to finish the original post since it relates to the Olympics and they are still front and center on the world’s sports scene. However, upon my return I find that PAPA God had other plans and the Olympic-themed post will wait another week. . . or two!
The best laid plans are often those that are interrupted by life interventions we don’t expect!
A Great Man . . .
Wednesday, February 21, 2018, a man who became known as “America’s Pastor” passed from life to death to life eternal. William Franklin Graham, better known as “Billy Graham”, was 99 years of age when he died peacefully in his sleep after years of debilitating illnesses that, as reported by his personal physician, “wore out his body”.
There are numerous posts on social media sharing Reverend Graham’s life and history. He accepted the Lord at an early age; attended several Bible training institutions and began preaching shortly after World War II. He was confidante and counselor to US Presidents beginning with Harry S. Truman. And both he and his late wife, Ruth Bell Graham were awarded multiple honors throughout their lives.
Yet William Franklin Graham remained a humble man who did not want attention drawn to himself; but to the Savior and the Gospel Reverend Graham preached for more than 60 years.
Many have called Billy Graham a “great man”. And indeed he was (and still is) a great man. I believe he’s a great man whose impact will be felt around the world for more years than I can imagine.
But that’s not what I want to share in this post. Because most of us will not be internationally recognized throughout our lives; nor will we be honored in the ways Billy and Ruth Graham were. Folks in our sphere of influence will mourn our passing and if we have impacted their lives in positive ways, will say of us. . . “she was a great woman!” They may even say we were great business women. And hopefully they will universally note our deep Christian faith about which there is no doubt.
He Lived His Calling. . .
Billy Graham was called to preach. In the beginning of his ‘career’, I doubt he had any inkling of the breadth of his preaching ministry. He just knew he was called to preach. Preach a simple message of the truth of the Gospel in a straightforward way through which the Holy Spirit would draw millions to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. He surrendered to the burning passion to reach others for Christ. That burning passion built an organization that discipled new believers to help them grow in their faith commitment. Others with different skill sets needed by the organization were attracted to the ministry and helped make it work around the world.
But Billy Graham never strayed from what God called him to do. The fire that burned in his heart never died nor did it become something different over the years. He knew what he was called to do and he pursued it with all purpose and perseverance! While, over the years, the breadth of the ministry became more than crusades, books and newspaper articles; each addition came because it was an extension of his calling to preach the Gospel.
What About You – What About Me?
Are we pursuing our calling – our destiny? With purpose and perseverance? Do we even know what our purpose or destiny is? Have we sat quietly with the Lord waiting for Him to reveal our calling to us and do so in no uncertain terms?
I ask myself this question on a regular basis. Is what I’m doing really the calling PAPA God has on my life? If so, am I fulfilling it?
Perhaps the following thoughts will be helpful to you as you strive to live your faith commitment and fulfill your calling:
- “Ministry” is what we are called to do. Whether we are pursuing an entrepreneurial path, reaching for the corner office in the corporate world or choosing to work inside home rather than outside. If we are convinced beyond the shadow of doubt that what we are doing – in or out of the marketplace, is the ‘calling’ on our lives; then we are fulfilling our destiny!
- Too many believers fail to think of what they are pursuing in the world as “ministry” – or a “calling”. Yet as long as we have consulted the Lord and know in our heart of hearts that our direct sales business is exactly what we are called to do; then we are in ministry. Same is true for any other business endeavor we are pursuing.
- It’s not what I do that makes the difference, but how I do it. Who says I can’t share my faith with others, including clients? As long as I’m not shoving it down someone’s throat, sharing how PAPA God loves us may be just what a client, co-worker or lunch partner needs to hear!
- When I know what my purpose for life is; I can be assured that I’m touching lives for the good whether I know it or not. I think we’d all be surprised if we could look back and see the folks who have been positively impacted by our lives, words and actions. As Billy Graham knew, it’s not about us. . .
Finally, when we put our all in all into the calling on our lives; then we can rest peacefully in the knowledge that when we too make the transition from this life to the next; we will hear the words, “well done my good and faithful servant!”
Let us rejoice that a man named William Franklin Graham recognized and never wavered from God’s calling on his life. And let us rejoice that like that man; we too have a calling and will do all we can do to follow and fulfill it as “good and faithful servants” indeed!
Linda S. Fitzgerald, M.S.Ed, CEO & Visionary Partner
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Photo from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association