Trust Services and SIMPLIFY
Grit and Guardrails
March 12, 2018
The following was written by Russ Crosson, Executive Vice Chairman and EVP of Ronald Blue Trust.
We are a legacy company. We talk to our clients about leaving a legacy, and this has been at the forefront of my thinking the last several weeks. In truth, the past few weeks have been an emotional time for me. My mother-in-law’s recent passing, along with the passing of Billy Graham, has led me to reflect on the meaning of leaving behind a godly legacy.
As I look at my life, from the way I lead my family to the way I led the company for 15 years, I consider myself part of Billy Graham’s legacy. I came to Christ in 1966 at a Billy Graham movie where he shared the gospel in a clear and compelling manner.
So how did Billy Graham leave such a lasting and godly legacy?
First, he had
To me, grit can be defined as passion and perseverance toward a singularly important goal. Throughout his life, Graham had an unwavering focus on one thing: to spread the gospel by preaching John 3:16,
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”
Turning down offers from Hollywood and Washington, D.C., Graham stayed the course to use his gifts not for this world, but for the world to come. Delivering powerful and convicting sermons, Graham preached to over 100 million people in person and millions more over television and satellite. Nearly three million people have responded to his invitations to “accept Jesus into your heart” at the end of his services.
At Ronald Blue Trust, we have grit also. We have the single-minded focus of helping clients make wise financial decisions, live generously, and leave a lasting legacy. Our company verse of 1 Timothy 6:17-19 says,
“Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed.”
This mission is our passion, and we will continue to persevere towards our goal of helping our clients become more generous and financially free to assist in fulfilling the Great Commission.
Second, Graham had
Titus 2:7-8 says,
“In all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified, sound in speech which is beyond reproach, so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us.”
During the last several weeks, we heard Graham described as a man of integrity and humility. Temptation is ever-present, and scandals are always just one mistake away. Setting guardrails allowed Graham to avoid scandal throughout his ministry. During a 1948 campaign in Modesto, California, Graham called members of his evangelistic team to pinpoint key problems that often lead ministers to fall into temptation. Along with Cliff Barrows, George Beverly Shea, and Grady Wilson, they came up with what became known as the “Modesto Manifesto.” This would become the guardrails for how Graham and his team would approach money, sexual immorality, publicity, and partnerships with local churches.
In addition, Graham played a pivotal role in the founding of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA). The ECFA’s Seven Standards of Responsible Stewardship™ is now the gold standard for non-profit accreditation.
At work and at home, do we have grit and guardrails to lead a life that will leave an untarnished and godly legacy, similar to Billy Graham? Looking back at his life, I’m inspired to have grit after a singular purpose and guardrails in place so I can finish well and hear “well done, good and faithful servant!” This is the legacy I hope to leave behind, and this is the legacy I wish for you all as well.
If you would like to speak to a Ronald Blue Trust advisor about how you can leave a lasting legacy, please call 800.987.2987 or email
Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance
(Toronto, Ontario, Canada: Harper Collins Publishers. Ltd., 2016).
Shelley, Marshall, “Evangelist Billy Graham Has Died,” Christianity Today. https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2018/billy-graham/died-billy-graham-obituary.html
“The Modesto Manifesto: A Declaration of Biblical Integrity,” Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, October 24, 2016. https://billygraham.org/story/51705/
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