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Four Life Lessons from the Funeral of Cliff Barrows

Written by Ed Stetzer on . Posted in Ed Stetzer

Billy Graham's long-time song leader and choir director remembered in North Carolina

This morning, I was at Cliff Barrows’ funeral.

In ways I did not expect, the service moved me. Surprisingly, it was not because of the music (although it was amazing), but because of the life that was celebrated.

I posted a clip of the music, and you can watch it here.

However, it was after hearing some of the tributes, uttered above the pine box that was—by Barrows’ request—his casket, I texted this to my new Chicago accountability group:

I’m at Cliff Barrows’ funeral right now, struck by how people talk of him—his character, how he loved his family, his integrity, he was not about himself, he focused on Jesus. One day, it will be us in the wooden box. May people speak that way of me—and of us. Anyway, it was on my heart and I thought I’d share it with my new friends.

I was struck by several things at the funeral. In short, Cliff Barrows’ death made me think about my life. That's what the funeral of a good man does.

Here are a few things I was reminded of during the funeral, followed by some exhortations to follow.

1. Most clearly, Cliff was not about Cliff.

One of the speakers said that the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association originally had the name “Barrows” in it. (According to Graham’s memoirs, it was called the Graham / Barrows Campaigns.)

As the speaker at the funeral explained, one of the business leaders/supporters suggested that the ministry would be more effective if named the “Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.” Cliff quickly agreed and never spoke of it again.

Cliff was about the mission of Jesus Christ. He was a preacher who gave that up to serve on a team that already had a preacher.

Like Cliff Barrows, may we live our ...

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