Billy Graham, Healthy Self-Care, and Sustainable Ministry

As I reflected on the death of Billy Graham yesterday, I came across this quote from Billy Graham and Me: 101 Inspiring Personal Stories from Presidents, Pastors, Performers, and Other People Who Knew Him Well (Chicken Soup for the Soul, 2013):

What does appropriate, healthy, self-care look like over the course of one’s life?

It looks like Billy Graham.

Of course I’m aware of the evangelist’s many years of sustained ministry, but I had never thought about him in terms of self-care. Reading that comment definitely made me curious!

So in memory of Billy Graham’s many years of ministry, and since I didn’t include him in my just completed book manuscript on self-care, today I’m sharing 15 quotes from Billy Graham related to self-care and sustainable ministry. I hope his words will encourage you for life and ministry today, as he has given encouragement and hope to many people around the world.

“The will of God will not take us where the grace of God will not sustain us.”

“Your faith and hope are in God.”

“Strengthen your commitment to Christ—now. Don’t wait until the storms of temptation, or sickness, or old age threaten to blow you off-course; now is the time to strengthen your faith.”

“Being a Christian is more than just an instantaneous conversion – it is a daily process whereby you grow to be more and more like Christ.”

“Reading God’s Word and meditating on its truth will have a purifying effect upon your mind and heart, and will be demonstrated in your life. Let nothing take the place of this daily privilege.”

“We need to fortify ourselves with the Word of God.”

“God has given us two hands, one to receive with and the other to give with. We are not cisterns made for hoarding, but channels made for sharing.”

“Take one day at a time. Today, after all, is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday.”

“A keen sense of humor helps us to overlook the unbecoming, understand the unconventional, tolerated the unpleasant, overcome the unexpected, and outlast the unbearable.”

“Quit beating yourself up. We all live under grace and do the best we can.”

“The Christian life is not a constant high. I have my moments of deep discouragement. I have to go to God in prayer with tears in my eyes, and say, ‘O God, forgive me,’ or ‘Help me.’”

“God’s strength is made perfect in weakness. The weaker I became, the more powerful became the preaching.”

“When wealth is lost, nothing is lost; when health is lost, something is lost; when character is lost, all is lost.”

“Someone asked me recently if I didn’t think God was unfair, allowing me to have Parkinson’s and other medical problems when I have tried to serve him faithfully. I replied that I did not see it that way at all. Suffering is part of the human condition, and it comes to us all. The key is how we react to it, either turning away from God in anger and bitterness or growing closer to him in trust and confidence.”

“Knowing we will be with Christ forever far outweighs our burdens today! Keep your eyes on eternity!”

For more Billy Graham quotes, please see:

40 Courageous Quotes from Billy Graham

99 Thought-Provoking Quotes from Billy Graham, the Celebrated American Evangelist

Remembering Billy Graham: His Most Powerful Quotes on Life and Spirituality


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Author: April Yamasaki

I currently serve as resident author with a liturgical worship community, edit a quarterly devotional magazine, write online and in print publications, and often speak in churches and other settings. Published books include On the Way with Jesus, Four Gifts, Sacred Pauses, and other books on Christian living. Websites: and

6 thoughts

  1. April, as you can tell, I’m doing some long overdue reading. Not in a very long time I have grieved the loss of a public figure. However, I suppose Billy Graham seems more like a friend than a public figure. I was blessed to sing in the choir when his team came to Portland, OR for a crusade one summer many years ago. I’ve watched crusades on TV for decades. And he spoke at the college I attended. So, it is with gratitude that I read these quotes you’ve so graciously shared here. I’ll be saving them on Evernote for future reference.

    BTW, I like the look of your new site. I spent a few months over at Squarespace after using WordPress from a self-hosted account. Now I’m back to WordPress and happy with the simplicity of just being there and not fretting over hosting, etc.

    1. I’m glad to see you here, Sherrey, especially since you’ve had a special connection with Billy Graham that I was not aware of. And thank you for your comments on my new site. While I liked the magazine format of my old site, I didn’t like the way it cropped all of my photos to a standard size, and besides I thought it was time for a fresh look. Welcome back to WordPress, and I hope you’ll be as happy with it as I am!

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