“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:7-8 NLT
This was the last passage I shared at Jim Jamison‘s Celebration of Life service. It was a wonderful experience to attend and to participate in with over 150 others in attendance. A number of people stood up during the time of remembrance and shared found memories of their life with Jim. Late last fall Jim and his nephew Doug Jamison were at my house one evening until almost midnight helping install the in-floor heating system. It was not long after this occasion that Jim told me he needed to spend some time in Middle River and get stronger and have some of his medications balanced. For many years he had dealing with some medical issues and finding the right balance for optimum health. Prior to this, Jim had been so faithful in visiting church family members at Middle River, St. Luke’s, Saint Mary’s and being a great representative for Hawthorne Assembly; yet more importantly the Kingdom of God. Even as I write this week’s article, I need to make a trip today to St. Luke’s to visit one of our church members. During the Celebration of Life for Jim, I told those gathered that my connection to Jim spanned only 3 years. His brothers spoke very highly of him having obviously known him for most of the 83 years that his life spanned on this side of eternity. What we all hope for, when our life on this side of heaven comes to a conclusion, is we are remembered for living our lives with godliness and compassion towards humanity. Thankfully, the times where I fell short as a follower of Jesus, whether it be as a pastor, a husband, a father, or a neighbor are few in proportion to the positive impact I’ve had on others. Jim Jamison is like all of us, he had moments where his humanity was challenging for others to accept. Jim even shared with me times in his life that he found challenging whether it was on the ship, with neighbors, even with other followers of Jesus. Without exaggerating I would guesstimate Jim recounted 30 to 40 different events which had taken place in his life. Of all those stories, three or four of them had challenging people, places, or things he had to overcome. More often than not his comments were about how encouraging last week’s sermon was for him. Or, the nice visit he had with someone from the church. Even more, how during a prayer time he felt the presence of the Holy Spirit in a powerful way. While he was convalescing at Middle River there were a number of times he shared his faith with orderlies, staff, nurses and doctors; he was not ashamed of the gospel! In the last few months of his life he mentioned not only to me, but to others, how much he loved reading the bulletin and ES article on the back page. It’s very appropriate this week’s article reflects back on the life of a godly individual. Jim’s positive attitude kept me motivated towards writing these weekly thoughts. Our challenge is to finish the race and not just finish the race but run to win! Jim Jamison gave it every bit of effort towards crossing the finish line 1st! The encouragement I take from Jim is I’m not going to just limp over the finish line; I’m going to finish strong and bring as many people with me as I can. Congrats Jim Jamison, you finished strong!