It has been said that in January 2000, leaders in Charlotte, North Carolina, invited their favorite son, Billy Graham, to a luncheon in his honor. Billy initially hesitated to accept the invitation because he struggles with Parkinson’s disease. But the Charlotte leaders said, ‘We don’t expect a major address. Just come and let us honor you.’ So he agreed.
After wonderful things were said about him, Dr. Graham stepped to the rostrum, looked at the crowd, and said, “I’m reminded today of Albert Einstein, the great physicist who this month has been honored by Time magazine as the Man of the Century. Einstein was once traveling from Princeton on a train when the conductor came down the aisle, punching the tickets of every passenger. When he came to Einstein, Einstein reached in his vest pocket. He couldn’t find his ticket, so he reached in his trouser pockets. It wasn’t there. He looked in his briefcase but couldn’t find it. Then he looked in the seat beside him. He still couldn’t find it. “The conductor said, ‘Dr. Einstein, I know who you are. We all know who you are. I’m sure you bought a ticket. Don’t worry about it.’ Einstein nodded appreciatively. The conductor continued down the aisle punching tickets. As he was ready to move to the next car, he turned around and saw the great physicist down on his hands and knees looking under his seat for his ticket. “The conductor rushed back and said, ‘Dr. Einstein, Dr. Einstein, don’t worry, I know who you are; no problem. You don’t need a ticket. I’m sure you bought one.’ Einstein looked at him and said, ‘Young man, I too, know who I am. What I don’t know is where I’m going.” Having said that Billy Graham continued, “See the suit I’m wearing? It’s a brand new suit. My children, and my grandchildren are telling me I’ve gotten a little slovenly in my old age. I used to be a bit more fastidious. So I went out and bought a new suit for this luncheon and one more occasion. You know what that occasion is? This is the suit in which I’ll be buried. But when you hear I’m dead, I don’t want you to immediately remember the suit I’m wearing. I want you to remember this: I not only know who I am. I also know where I’m going.” May your troubles be less, your blessings more, and may nothing but happiness, come through your door. “Life without God is like an unsharpened pencil – it has no point.” While I have not been able to verify either the Billy Graham story or the Einstein anecdote, even if they were created for this story they match what both men might have done and said. In much the same manner, it has been reported that Einstein did not know his own phone number because if he was there he couldn’t call himself and if he wasn’t home he couldn’t answer if it rang. None would doubt Billy knows where he is headed. Regardless of whether or not they know what it takes or how to get there, none would argue that Billy will be anywhere other than in heaven. The thing is, Billy didn’t do anything to get into heaven. He would tell you that, too. It isn’t works or what he’s done that qualified Billy for his one way ticket, it was grace. The grace of God-given through Jesus has punched Billy’s ticket. And mine. What about you? Do you have a ticket?
Life without God is like an unsharpened pencil – it has no point.