As a young boy Billy Graham dreamed of becoming a baseball player.
But all that changed at a revival meeting in 1934 -- when the lanky teenage boy walked the aisle and accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior.
Ironically, he would make a name for himself inside baseball stadiums -- not by winning games -- but by winning souls.
Over the years, Billy Graham shared the Gospel message to more than 200 million people in 185 countries.
The North Carolina farm boy went on to counsel kings and queens -- presidents and prime ministers.
But in his heart Billy Graham was always a simple tent revival preacher with a life-changing message.
It was a message that transcended politics and religion and race and bank accounts. It was a simple message -- God loves you and he wants to have a relationship with you.
And that’s how Billy Graham lived his life -- foregoing fame and fortune for the sake of something much greater. It was something George Beverly Shea sang about during those historic crusade meetings:
I'd rather have Jesus than silver or gold I'd rather be his than have riches untold
I'd rather have Jesus than houses or land
Yes I'd rather be led by his nail pierced hands
Than to be the king of a best domain and beheld in sins dread sway
I'd rather have Jesus than anything this world affords today
I'd rather have Jesus than worldly applause I'd rather be faithful to his dear cause
I'd rather have Jesus than world wide things I'd rather be true to his holy name
America's pastor died today at his mountain top home in Montreat, North Carolina. He was 99.
And I can only imagine what it must be like in Heaven today as all of the folks who walked the aisle at those crusade meetings embrace the North Carolina farm boy who wanted to become a baseball player -- and say, welcome home.
Billy Graham was a good and faithful servant. Well done.