In January 2000, community leaders in Charlotte, North Carolina invited their favorite son, Billy Graham, to a luncheon in his honor.
Rev. Graham initially hesitated to accept the invitation, but the Charlotte leaders said, “We don’t expect a major address. Just come and let us honor you.”
Finally he agreed. The afternoon of the luncheon a number of people came forward to heap accolades on the “hero in their midst.”
Finally the emcee asked Rev. Graham to come to the rostrum and say a few words.
When he stepped to the podium, Graham looked at the crowd, and said, “I’m reminded today of Albert Einstein, the great physicist who this month has been honored by Time magazine as the ‘Man of the Century.’”
Then Dr. Graham told this story: Einstein was once traveling from Princeton on a train when the conductor came down the aisle, punching the tickets of every passenger.
When he came to Einstein, Einstein reached in his vest pocket. He couldn’t find his ticket, so he reached into his pants pockets.
It wasn’t there, so he looked in his briefcase but couldn’t find it. Then Einstein looked in the seat beside him. He still couldn’t find it.
Finally, the conductor stopped him and said, “Dr. Einstein, I know who you are. We all know who you are. I’m sure you bought a ticket. Don’t worry about it.”
Einstein smiled and nodded in appreciation. The conductor continued down the aisle punching tickets. As the conductor was ready to move to the next car, he turned around and saw the great physicist down on his hands and knees looking under his seat for his ticket.
The conductor rushed back and said, “Dr. Einstein, Dr. Einstein, please don’t worry, I know who you are. No problem. You don’t need a ticket. I’m sure you bought one.”
Einstein looked at him and said, “Young man, I too know who I am. What I don’t know is where I’m going.”
Having said that Billy Graham continued, “See the suit I’m wearing? It’s a brand new suit. My wife, my children, and my grandchildren are telling me I’ve gotten a little slovenly in my old age. I used to be a bit more fastidious. So I went out and bought a new suit for this luncheon and one more occasion.
“You know what that occasion is? This is the suit in which I’ll be buried. But when you hear I’m dead, I don’t want you to immediately remember the suit I’m wearing. I want you to remember this: I not only know who I am... I also know where I’m going.”
I love that story.
The older I get and the closer I come to “The Finish Line,” it’s a comfort to know where I’m going, where I’m going to spend eternity.
In the Gospel of John 14:1-6, Jesus is quoted as saying: “Let not your heart be troubled: you believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.”
Then the Apostle Thomas said to Jesus, “Lord, we know not where you are going; and how can we know the way?” Jesus said unto him, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no man comes unto the Father, but by me”
The Rev. Dr. Billy Graham passed away on February 21, 2018.
A slab of North Carolina stone marks the grave of Billy Graham, who was buried next to his wife, Ruth Bell Graham, in the Prayer Garden of the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, N.C. Rev. Graham’s marker is inscribed with the text, “Preacher of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ,” followed by “John 14:6.”
The Preacher said he knew where he was going. He preached that same message all throughout his life. And he preached from John 14:6 so many times over the years.
Just like Brother Billy, I know where I am going too. I’m going to Heaven. I pray that you can say the same.
Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No man comes to the Father but by ME.”
If you want to go to Heaven when you die, Jesus has provided the way. He has given us hope for our future.
John and Betty Stam were early missionaries to China, and the Stams gave their lives for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
When they were led from their prison cells to their execution by their communist guards, another prison called out to them, “Where are you going?” John Stam told the fellow prisoner that he didn’t know where the guards were going, but then John added, “But we are going to Heaven.”
I hope that you have that same assurance that John and Betty Stam had; that Billy and Ruth Graham had; the same assurance that my wife and I have.
I hope you can say with me, “I believe that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life; and He is the only Way to get to the Heavenly Father, to get to Heaven.”
I know where I’m going!