30 on 30: Frank
Welcome to this installment of the TJC DBO series: "30 on 30”
Throughout scripture we read many names for our God; one of which is El Gibbor - recognizing God as the mighty warrior and champion.
In 2 Samuel, Chapter 23, verses 8-39, we read a list of David’s mighty men, the Gibbor - the list of men who bring about Great Victory. These are men who personify Psalms 112:1-10 who fear God and obey God.
Over 30 days of DBOs, 30 authors and guests will be exploring the lives of 30 Gibbors, mighty men, mighty warriors who across the ages have feared and obeyed God. This will likely include Pastors, Saints, Martyrs, Coaches, Athletes, Politicians, and others who we can read and learn about as mighty men of God. Our goal is to motivate you to learn more about these mighty men, whose shoulders we can stand on, as we learn from their decisions across the generations of battlefields.
“A good father is one of the most unsung, unpraised, unnoticed, and yet one of the most valuable assets in our society.” - Billy Graham
“But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” - 1 Timothy 5:8
The name Frank Graham at first utterance does not ring with notoriety or fame. Even though his famous son Billy who all of us know and his Grandson Franklin have achieved worldwide fame through their service to Christ. It is arguable that Frank’s role as a father to Billy may have been one of the most crucial roles played by a father in generations. Let’s consider this significance through Billy’s accounts.
Frank Graham was a simple dairy farmer in Mecklenburg County, NC during the early 20th century. He had the difficult task of raising a family and running a business through the Great Depression which Billy described as “simpler days, but definitely not easier or happier times.” What Billy remembers from that time though was profound. “What we did have back then was family solidarity. We really cared about each other, and we liked to do things together.” He warmly recalled that his family would gather around his mother and father “to listen to Bible stories, to join in family prayers, and to share a sense of the presence of God.”
Billy would recall that he believes a pivotal moment in the overall family legacy was when Frank decided to host an outdoor prayer meeting in an open pasture on the family farm. Frank was a member of a Christian Businessman Association that had been meeting regularly for prayer and Frank had decided it was important for his family to host them. That day a gentleman named Vernon Patterson prayed that “out of Charlotte the Lord would raise up someone to preach the Gospel to the ends of the earth.” Over the next decade, Frank’s son Billy would answer that call.
Frank Graham’s eyeglasses are on display at the Billy Graham archives. There they represent the Vision that he and Morrow (Billy’s mother) had for his life. It was through their constant prayers, sacrifice and thoughtful parenting that Billy would spring forth into his role as evangelist to the world.
Fatherhood in general is a tough challenge and we all fail at it on many occasions, yet it is such a critical task with profound second and third order effects. We get so busy chasing notoriety, fame or financial success that we lose sight of the critical spiritual calling of raising future generations to change the world.
Daily Battle Order:
Read the Apostle Paul’s warning to Fathers in 1 Timothy 5:8 with a new lens. Look past it’s physical implications and consider it’s spiritual implications. You can meet all of your child’s physical needs and still miss the mark spiritually. Our children’s needs aren’t just food and shelter but also Love, quality time, prayer and spiritual guidance. Frank faced trials in his day every bit as tough as ours yet he made the decision to provide for his family physically and spiritually, and raise them as a Christian Father; casting a Godly vision for his children and supporting them into it. Are you finding time to envision your children’s future? Are you calling it out to them and developing their strengths and challenging their weaknesses? Are you calling their Godly destiny out in prayer?
Let’s leave you with some of Billy’s own words regarding Fatherhood.
“I’d rather hear my father pray than anybody in the world.”
“If there were no heaven and no hell, I would still want to be a Christian because of what it does for our homes and our families in this life.”
“Parenting is the most important responsibility most of us will ever face, and none of us does it perfectly.”
“The greatest tribute a boy can give to his father is to say, ‘When I grow up, I want to be just like my dad.’ It is a convicting responsibility for us fathers and grandfathers.”
“Our lives speak loudly to those around us, especially the children in our home.