The Reverend Billy Graham, one of the most renowned preachers, evangelists and Christian authors of our time, went to be with the Lord this morning, February 21, at the age of 99.
Rev. Graham, who brought the Good News to millions during his lifetime, was also an advocate of Bible translation.
“As a friend to Wycliffe founder William Cameron Townsend, a former member of our board of directors, and a lifelong advocate for providing people around the world with access to the Scripture in their heart language, Rev. Graham left an indelible impact on our organization and work,” said Bob Creson, Wycliffe President and CEO.
In 1981, at the Wycliffe Jubilee Service celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Cakchiquel Bible translation, Rev. Graham shared these words about serving in Bible translation:
I was thinking today just what you would read about if you were to get out a file of newspapers from the last 50 years and see what the world has called the significant events during that time.
I have no doubt in the annals of heaven that one of the most significant events of the last half-century has been the explosion of Bible translation, which has brought the Word of God to hundreds of tribes and languages.
And much of this is because of the vision and genius of Cameron Townsend. He was a university dropout, with an urgent desire to serve the Lord wherever the Lord should lead him. And this should encourage many of you that are thinking about going into this type of ministry — that God can take a dedicated heart and consecrate it to his service and shape the world.
You have to face squarely if your talents and your gifts and your training prepare you for Christian service. In fact it might be said that Jesus only had two verbs: come and go. “Come unto me,” and, “Go into all the world.”
Go out quickly into the streets and into the lanes. Go out into the highways and hedges. Go into the vineyard. Go into the village. Go into the city. Go into the town. Go to the lost sheep. Go thou and preach the kingdom of God. Go, go, go, go — go ye into all the world!
If you profess the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, you have that command and you have to face it, and you have to do something about it.
We have been commanded to deliver a message to every one of the four billion people who live on this planet and especially to the hidden peoples with no written language.
And we have a responsibility to see that every language has the Word of God written in it.
Wycliffe is grateful for Rev. Graham’s many years of friendship and support. His exemplary life and ministry is an inspiration for the generations that will continue the work he started: sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ to all the nations.