Friday, June 27, 2014

"Nearing Home" by Billy Graham: A Review

Billy Graham is over 90 years old and remains one of the most recognizable faces who single handily shaped the 20th Century.  His sermons, books, travels, interviews, speeches, and ministry have changed the world.  Now at the end of his life, Billy Graham has published a book on growing old, death, dying, and retirement entitled Nearing Home: Life, Faith, and Finishing Well.

Though I am still under 30 myself, I thought it would be important to read this book for several reasons.  First, anything written by Graham is worth the investment. Graham's ministry is international and he remains one of the most respected voices in evangelicalism.  He is worth listening to even today.

Also, Graham writes with the heart of a minister.  He offers some real practical advice to the reader on how to age, what to expect, and how to prepare ourselves and our families for our aging, retirement, and death.  He discusses the difficulties and joys of retirement, the right attitude of work and money, ministry after retirement, working for God's glory, preparing wills and living wills, and all kinds of issues that many of us choose to ignore.  Graham does not right as a legal expert, but as a minister concerned for the reader.

Furthermore, Graham writes from his experience. We have all watched him age and in this book, Graham offers some real and honest insight into the struggles he has. He still wants to preach but repeatedly tells us how difficult it is for him to get out of his chair.  He shares his struggles of being a widower. He is oftentimes lonely, misses the "good ol days," and just wants to preach one more time.  He confesses the difficulties of turning over the ministry to someone else (namely his son Franklin) not because he felt they were unqualified (he praises Franklin for his work), but because he didn't want to let go.

This is a great book and one I would recommend for both the elderly and their pastors. Graham rightly encourages the retired and the elderly to continue to serve God. With the extra time they have gained in their retirement, Graham encourages them to work for the Kingdomand serve their family and their community.  I wholeheartedly endorse this.  Some of the hardest workers in our church are retired or widows.  They have chosen a life of service, not a life of ease.

Graham likely does not have very long to live and this should fill us with much sadness. But Graham confesses, as did Paul, that to live is Christ, but to die is gain.  Graham looks forward to being reunited with his wife Ruth Bell and united with the Savior he has served so faithfully for so long. Graham walks the reader through the joys of death - and the life that follows.  May we long for that too.  Death is not to be feared and Graham shows us why.  Certainly age has its own problems, but life is worth it and death, for the believer, is never the end.

Graham is always the evangelist and this book only continues this legacy.

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

I review for BookSneeze

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