Through My Father's Eyes



My father’s source of entertainment as a boy was on the ball field. He had visions of slamming a home run into the stands at New York’s Yankee Stadium. But God had a different vision for him. You might say this vision was both nearsighted and farsighted: near enough to plant a longing for Himself in a man’s heart, but far enough to stretch a ministry around the world. 

History tells us it was a farm boy named Philo T. Farnsworth who first conceived the basic operating principles behind a new technology that would sweep across the nation in the early 1950s. The hybrid word used to describe this invention was television—tele, meaning “far” (in Greek), and vision, meaning “sight” (in Latin). My father watched the power of this new invention with interest and soon realized how it could help him preach the gospel to the nations. On June 1, 1957, walking through the door of faith, he stepped onto the platform at Madison Square Garden, and ABC aired the Hour of Decision with Billy Graham live from New York. To everyone’s astonishment, approximately 6.5 million viewers tuned in. Interest grew, and Americans soon looked forward to tuning into the telecast each week.

As I have watched my father on television, I've seen how he had a way of connecting with hearts beyond the probing cameras. No matter how intense the spotlight, he zeroed in on God’s message and pointed people to the cross. There are countless stories of how God moved as a result. One man described how he was at home, flipping through the channels, trying to find something good on TV, when Billy Graham came on the screen. His wife told him to stay on the channel, so he went to the local bar and ordered a drink. “When I looked up on the screen,” the man said, “Billy Graham was on television. I figured I wasn’t going to get away from that man, so I went back home to hear what he had to say. The next Sunday, I went to church and was saved.”

It is always amazing how God can use the smallest of inventions in the hands of unlikely souls and create something new. Back in 1930, when a farm boy named Philo T. Farnsworth was winning a patent for his invention called the “electronic television,” no one knew the far-reaching effects this device would have on society. Nor did anyone know how God was preparing another farm boy to use that very invention to bring the gospel into the homes of people who would never darken a church door. “Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin” (Zechariah 4:10 NLT).

My father never fulfilled his dream to play baseball at Yankee Stadium. He exchanged a baseball bat for the Word of God, and his childhood fantasy for God’s vision. And God did what no one could have ever imagined—He sent a farm boy to a baseball stadium in New York City to preach God’s Word to thousands in the stands and those watching by television. He will do the same in our lives as we use the resources He has provided and exchange our visions for His vision.


What are some creative ways that you have used to share the gospel with others?

What are some resources and gifts that God has given you to share the message of Jesus with others? How are you using those resources? 

What are some ways that you sense God is calling you to “walk through the door of faith” when it comes to sharing the good news?