In honor of Father's Day, Franklin Graham shared a heartwarming tribute to his father, renowned evangelist Billy Graham, referring to him as a "true Christian gentleman" who raised him to know and love the Lord.
"To all you fathers out there-Happy Father's Day! As a Father of four and grandfather to 11 (one due next month), I am grateful for each one of my children and grandchildren," the 64-year-old head of Samaritan's Purse wrote in a Sunday Facebook post. "This #FathersDay I'm also especially grateful for my own father. At 97 he remains a very special man in my life, and I'm looking forward to going to see him today."
The younger Graham reflected on how his father continually demonstrates the love God displays for his children: "I'm grateful for the example he set in the home and outside the home all through the years as a true Christian gentleman," he continued. "Many people have asked, 'What was the real Billy Graham like?' The answer is that he was the same-there was only one Billy Graham, and we kids just knew him as our father. I can't remember a time when I needed to see him and he didn't take time for me. I thank my Father in Heaven for the earthly father He gave me."
The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association notes that Franklin Graham and his father, the presidential adviser and pre-eminent evangelist of the 20th century, have been in ministry together for decades.
"My father can no longer take walks or kneel in the woods to pray. His eyesight has dimmed and his conversations are brief," the younger Graham said. "But I can tell you that he kneels in spirit to the Lord as he prays for lost souls and looks forward to eternal fellowship with his Savior in Heaven someday."
Like his father, Franklin Graham took the words found in Proverbs 22:6 to heart: "Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it."
Recently, Franklin Graham's son, Will, shared how his father raised him to know and love the Lord: "When I think about my dad, Franklin Graham, I don't think about the 'public' Franklin Graham who stands in front of the world speaking on national television or preaching in large stadiums," Will Graham told the BGEA. "I think about my dad who raised me to be the man I am today. I think about my dad who led me to Jesus Christ as a young boy. I think about my dad who fiercely protected his children from the prying eyes of others until we were old enough to handle it on our own. I think about my dad who offered strong discipline, accompanied by incredible love. I think about my dad who was the example of a godly husband."
Shortly before Father's Day, Franklin Graham referred to the parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15:20-24) to remind Christians just how much their Father in Heaven loves them.
"This story is a picture of not only a loving earthly father, but it's a picture of our compassionate Heavenly Father who will forgive when you turn to Him in repentance," Graham wrote. "He loves you, wants the best for you, and celebrates when His children come home. If you've wandered away from God, this would be a great day to return to Him. I urge you to call out to Him today-He's waiting to embrace you."