Friday, June 8, 2012

A Christian Life Well Lived - The Legacy of Mr. J

     Yesterday, I received the news that a dear friend, believer and pillar of our church had died and gone on to glory.  I have many fond memories of this dear man and the servant heart he had in the service of Christ and community.  Our loss is truly heaven's gain as a church fellowship, but he left behind a legacy that we all should strive to impart before we leave this earth.
     While I do not have all the details of Mr. J's life, I do know that he worked hard all of his life.  He also served his country in the military.  My husband and I first met him when we started attending our current church fellowship some 22 years ago.  At the time, he and his second wife Thelma were the most caring and giving people in our congregation.  They made us feel welcomed from the first time we stepped through the church doors, and lavished attention on our young children.  This continued as our children grew up in the church.  Each Sunday, Mr. J would go out of his way to say hello to our children.  When they became teenagers, he never ceased to give them a word of encouragement.  What a blessing for us to have a "grandfather of the faith" minister to our sons and our daughter.
       When his wife became ill, he faithfully cared for her each day without a complaint.  It was a testimony to not only his love for her but also his commitment to the meaning of marriage.  Through both the good times and the difficult ones, he rarely missed church.
      Not only did Mr. J care about the young people of the congregation, he also had a special love for and ministry to our pastor's children as they were growing up.  They lived next door to one another so if a need arose, Mr. J was there to fill it.  He made repairs around the church, the manse and on the grounds.  In addition, he was active in the church's benevolence ministry helping the needy in our community.
     Until the last few weeks of his life, Mr. J, who died at the age of 93, was active, involved, loving, caring and giving.  Will he leave a legacy?  Most certainly.  His life is imprinted in the character of our fellowship,  If ever there was a life well lived, it had to be J.L. Chase's life.
     In one conversation, I recall Mr. J telling me that  the key to his life was his love for the Lord whom he served.  There was no doubt about his deep abiding faith or his desire to serve others.  Daily he wore the garments of self sacrifice with humility never bragging about himself but always bragging on the Lord.  If he were to have summarized his life, I believe he would have said something like this:  1)  Work hard and work honestly.  A good days work brings joy to the heart.  2) Help others who are less fortunate than yourself.  3) Attend church regularly for there you will find God's grace, sweet fellowship and sound teaching from the Bible.  4) Make strangers feel welcome in God's fellowship.  Greet them with a kind word and a smile.  5)  Family is one of the greatest blessings.  Cherish family while you can.
     While I grieve the loss of this wonderful man in our church, I find joy for I know he is resting with the heavenly Father from all his labors.  Psalm 37:23 says:  "The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord; and he delighteth in his way."  Certainly J.L. Chase's steps were ordered by the Lord.  His life left a wonderful testimony to the power of a changed heart in Jesus Christ.  He will be missed, but one day, we know we shall see him again in heaven smiling and saying, "What took you so long?"  Selah!

I welcome your thoughts here.  Celebrating a Christian life gives us all such encouragement to keep on keeping on.  Have you known someone like Mr. Chase?  Please share here.

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