Christianity Today posted an interview with Billy Graham on their website today (see here). Since Graham’s health is a concern it was conducted via email and it is brief. One of the questions asked of Graham was “If you could, would you go back and do anything differently?” This was his response:
Yes, of course. I’d spend more time at home with my family, and I’d study more and preach less. I wouldn’t have taken so many speaking engagements, including some of the things I did over the years that I probably didn’t really need to do—weddings and funerals and building dedications, things like that. Whenever I counsel someone who feels called to be an evangelist, I always urge them to guard their time and not feel like they have to do everything.
I also would have steered clear of politics. I’m grateful for the opportunities God gave me to minister to people in high places; people in power have spiritual and personal needs like everyone else, and often they have no one to talk to. But looking back I know I sometimes crossed the line, and I wouldn’t do that now.
I pray that we evangelicals hear the wisdom of one of our elders here. We need to live the Kingdom small scale in relation to those who are right next to us. We do not need to feel the pressure to save the world. We should continue to pray for the leaders of the world’s nations. We should not let them co-opt us into providing a religious stamp of approval on all they say and do.
I am thankful that Billy Graham can share honestly with us. Evangelicalism can learn a lot from avoiding the mistakes of the past. We have already learned much from Graham that inspires us for the future.