Even in his last will and testament, Billy Graham preached the gospel.
The 16-page document has been filed publicly and in addition to the typical legal jargon for dividing up assets and designating executors, the evangelist used it to point his family and the world to Jesus Christ.
“I urge all who shall read this document to read and study the Scriptures daily and to trust only in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation,” Graham wrote.
Graham writes about having little as a child and a newlywed and reminding his family that whatever he left behind should be used first to the spread of the gospel.
“I ask my children and grandchildren to maintain and defend at all hazards at any cost of personal sacrifice the blessed doctrine of complete Atonement for sin through the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ once offered, and through that alone. I urge all of you to walk with the Lord in a life of separation from the world and to keep eternal values in view,” he states.
But God blessed Graham in his ministry and there was much left behind.
A tithe included in Billy Graham’s will
“We have tried to use our material blessings for the glory of God,” he wrote.
“Yet I must confess that we were always faced with a certain dilemma as to how high a standard of living to maintain as servants of the Lord. We feel that we have maintained a proper balance over the years.
“Whether I have handled things properly or not, we will have to await the judgement at the Judgement Seat of Christ when all things will be revealed.”
“I have done my best before the Lord and I have confidence in all of you that you will consider that you are only trustees of what I have left.”
Graham instructed that 10 percent of what is left in his estate will “go the Lord’s work,” as he and Ruth decided from the start of their marriage that they would be tithers.
The document is also highly personal at times. Graham recalls his first date with his wife Ruth in December 1940.
“Because of Christ, your mother and I enjoyed a wonderful, thrilling and joyous life together,” he adds, noting that like any couple, they also went through problems and burdens.
“I want to thank her for her years of devotion, love, faithfulness and sacrifice. Of all the people I have ever known, she was the greatest Christian,” he declares.
“I read it, and then I read it again and I thought to myself ‘this is Billy’s last sermon,’” author Ken Garfield told WSOC-TV. Garfield has written several book about Graham.
“You could take these first six or seven paragraphs of will and it’s kind of the story of his life,” said Garfield.
Also in his will, Graham wrote of the hope that he shared with millions when he traveled the world as the most influential evangelist of our time, “When you read this I will be safely with Jesus in Paradise,” he wrote.