Just a few months shy of the century mark, Billy Graham passed into eternity.

Earlier he had written, "I know that my life will soon be over. I thank God for it, and for all He has given me in this life. But I look forward to Heaven."

It sounds a lot like what the apostle Paul wrote shortly before his death: For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day — and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. (II Timothy 4:6-8, NIV)

Billy Graham was a man of faith. His faith defined what he did—his ministry. It also defined who he was—his character. He taught the faith. He lived the faith. We could learn from what he said. We could learn from how he lived. There was congruence between the two.

Billy Graham was a man of integrity. He was devoted to his wife and his Lord. There was never any incident or suspicion of sexual or financial misconduct. Again his faith defined him.

His message was simple, but not simplistic. His sermons were essentially two basic truths: The problem—man’s sin. The solution—Jesus Christ our Savior. When asked how he wanted to be remembered, he said he did not want to be remembered. He wanted Jesus to be remembered.

So today, we thank God for Billy Graham, who modeled and proclaimed the message of Christ. More importantly we thank God for the Savior he loved, served and proclaimed.

Dr. Wayne Shaw (R-Grove) has been a member of the Oklahoma Senate since 2014. Prior to that he served as the senior pastor at First Christian Church, Grove, for many years.