My mom recently forwarded this true account to me. I had never heard this luncheon address by Billy Graham, as short and sweet as it was. To make sure it was legit, I searched the internet. It’s everywhere, word-for-word, source after source.
How have I missed this true story? This week I share it with you.
For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world but forfeits his soul? (Mark 8:36)
Luncheon address in Charlotte, NC in 2000.
In January 2000, leaders of Charlotte, North Carolina, invited their favorite son, Billy Graham, to a luncheon. Billy initially hesitated to accept the invitation because he struggles with Parkinson’s disease. But the Charlotte leaders said, “We don’t expect a major address. Just come and let us honor you.” So he agreed.
After wonderful things were said about him, Graham stepped to the rostrum, 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. Einstein was once traveling from Princeton on a train when the conductor came down the aisle, punching the tickets of each passenger. When he came to Einstein, Einstein reached in his vest pocket. He couldn’t find his ticket, so he reached in his other pocket. It wasn’t there, so he looked in his briefcase but couldn’t find it. Then he looked in the seat by him. He couldn’t find it. The conductor 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 nodded appreciatively.
“The conductor continued down the aisle punching tickets. As he 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, 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.'”
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.”
John Huffman, “Who Are You, and Where Are You Going?” Preaching Conference 2002
I plead with you to know where you are going, and if you do, I urge you to join me in making sure everyone in your life has an opportunity to carefully consider where they are headed.
Picture explanation: Like I wrote last week, this boy started school this week, but not after I prayed an enclosed circle around his school. I look forward to watching God answer my prayers as this boy grows into a man of God, first and foremost.
© 2017 by Oaks Ministries. All rights reserved.
What a great story and message Billy Graham gave at that luncheon! Thank you for sharing. He is one of my heroes!
I want to live with a Billy Graham level of focus too…