This past Sunday I lost a good friend of mine - Jim Owens. Jim was diagnosed with a brain tumor a few weeks ago and he died from other related medical complications. I have known Jim for a long time. He was an attorney for Bell South and worked in the legal department with my father. But I reconnected with Jim and his wife, Ann, when I went to serve as the Senior Chaplain for the Big Canoe Chapel -- where they were members. Like my parents, Jim and Ann were from Mississippi. After I lost both of my parents, every visit with Ann and Jim would remind me of them.
Jim was a Sunday School teacher and a real student of the Bible. He read all of the time and enjoyed a good, challenging debate. Being a lawyer, he could certainly hold his own. Prior to working for Bell South, he was a labor attorney. Some nights I would stay at the home of Jim and Ann so I would not have to make the drive back to Atlanta. I will always appreciate their friendship and hospitality.
I have been asked to help lead the service for Jim this Friday. I have been wondering what words from scripture might speak to the occasion. The passage that keeps coming to mind is from Paul's first letter to Timothy when he writes, Fight the good fight of faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. -1 Timothy 6:12, NIV
Both Paul and Jim were lawyers - though not exactly the same kind. Paul was educated in the Jewish law and had to discern what it meant to keep that moral code. Jim practiced labor and corporate law -- but both of them knew what it was like to "fight the good fight" particularly "in the presence of many witnesses." And now Jim has taken "hold of the eternal life to which" he was "called." As Paul says in another letter, Jim has fought the good fight, finished the race and kept the faith. -2 Timothy 4:6, NIV
I am grateful for folks like Jim in my life who show me how to live life well!