I’m not quite sure why I picked up this book. Perhaps because various signs of what I now call “maturity” are catching my attention more vividly than they did a few years ago. Perhaps because our kids have grown and their children are growing fast and I’m aware that I don’t have as many years as I used to have to impact their lives. Perhaps because I respect Billy Graham and his contributions and character. Perhaps because his title intrigued me, particularly the “Finishing Well” part. I don’t just want to have a meaningful past; I also want to continue living meaningfully. As I’m nearing home, I want to take care that I’m finishing well.
Billy (now in his 90’s) introduces his book saying “I never thought I would live to be this old.” He’s been a widower for many years, needs help to cope with the practicalities of life, and yet…and yet…he believes that God has him around for a purpose, and he doesn’t want to waste it. Neither do I.
Billy surprised me with his stories of biblical examples of aging men and women whom God used late in life to have great impact. Enoch’s close relationship with God (Genesis 5:23-24), shaped the godly character of his son Methuselah and his great-grandson, Noah. Moses was 80 when he led the Jewish people out of slavery in Egypt. Barzillai (bet you never heard of him) was close to 80 when he sheltered and supported a fleeing David (2 Samuel 17:28-29). There were many others – Elizabeth, Zechariah, Anna, Paul, John. What did they have in common? They were ordinary people through whom God worked significant impact. Their lives were a testimony to others.
A Crucial Question
Billy asks us all a crucial question: “What testimony are you passing on to those following you?”
His question has captured my attention and shapes my days. What testimony am I passing on to others? Am I living meaningfully? Am I finishing well?
The time to build the foundation for our testimony to others starts long before we are old. I’m only 75 as I write this. And, because of Billy’s book, I’m asking the Lord daily, deliberately, and repeatedly, “How do you want me to use whatever time you have planned for me on earth?” It’s not about standout deeds (though they may happen) but more, I think, about displaying godly character – joy, thanksgiving, love, kindness … those kind of things.
I encourage you to ask yourself Billy’s question: “What kind of testimony am I passing on to others?” I pray you will live meaningfully and end up finishing well.
[Nearing Home: Life, Faith, and Finishing Well, by Billy Graham, Thomas Nelson, 2011]
Book Review © Lynne Fox, 2018