I pray that you do…have a Jim in your life, that is.
Jim was his name. Inspiration was his point. Inspire was the gear he shifted into throughout all of life. Teacher by trade, he was, and teacher is what he lived. Example setter, dad, husband, and infuser of possibilities is what his smile resonated when he looked upon others.
He lived a full life according to the words printed on paper. His obituary was solid enough, but if you knew him at all…it was in 3-D that you saw those words which all but jumped off the page. You see, his life was more alive than the words in print and truth-be-told, it wasn’t even about Jim. Rather, it was what Jim knew within the Word he read that made him who he was.
I met Jim after he’d retired from teaching, and long after he’d traveled abroad to faraway places. By this time, his family was mostly grown, yet they remained central in his life. When I first saw Jim, he was behind a kitchen serving line, serving with a smile that resonated hope at a Bible Camp which could have easily been named after him, Inspiration Point. With his wife, Ellie, of many years, they were an inseparable team. They worked as one welcoming the stranger.
With a strong embrace of a handshake or a nod of the head, he encouraged campers, staff, and all whom he served…while smiling. Funny thing is I don’t remember him speaking much but rather, faithfully living love. It was as if he was girded with a strength far deeper than the eye could see.
His white hair hadn’t always been that color, you know…but symbolic it was. Like salt pouring out of the shaker, he touched tens of thousands in ways everlasting. You see, he knew well the legacy he was leaving on this earth and that none of it was about him. No, it was not about him. Rather, it was about his desire to lift up and inspire others to live for the very same Jesus who not only shed light in this world but who shed His very blood.
What could Jim possibly live that hadn’t already been lived through the love of our Lord, Jesus Christ? There was nothing more Jim could live out, and he knew it. He could not add one more ounce of anything to what had been done on that cross. Therein was the secret to his smile, and the point of his passionate desire to inspire.
Jim’s secret was not to replace anything that had been done, but rather to confidently resonate that which the Lord Jesus Christ was living through him. He knew his source. Jim knew from where his strength came. He did not lean onto his own understanding, but in all his ways acknowledged Him so He would direct Jim’s path (Prov. 3:6).
Grateful Jim was as he made his plans and allowed the Lord to direct his footsteps (Prov. 16:9).
Jim was a man after God’s own heart, like David. He lived by example, confessed with a contrite heart, and knew he was fully human while the God he served was fully divine.
Jim knew the Divine as he readily prayed how the Lord had taught: “Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name…” (Matt. 6:9-13).
May Jim live on in us…only to the extent that like Jim, we get out of the way in order to make way…so He might make a way through His only begotten Son who lives and reigns both now and forever.
“The Lord reigns, He is clothed with majesty; the Lord has clothed and girded Himself with strength; indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not be move” (Ps. 93:1). Amen.
Kathleen Kjolhaug, OblSB
This blog was first published on Theology in the Trenches, written and maintained by Oblate Kathleen Kjolhaug. Reposted with permission.
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