1930 – 2007
“You are the salt of the earth…you are the light of the world.”
Jesus, Matthew 5:13a, 14a
“For God’s people to be the ‘Salt of the earth,’ they need to get out of the salt shaker and into the world!” Becky Pippert
Have you ever met anyone that overflowed with the example of Christ? I have. His name was Jim Boyd.
Meeting Jim came after my family moved to Oregon in 2004. That was a long move but a stay that lasted only a year. Getting to know this dear brother was among the high points that would make me do it all over again, however. Why? Because he was one of the most authentic disciples of Jesus I’ve ever known.
Jim was a kind, gentle soul – a savoring influence that showed Jesus and helped others know and experience the love of God. His was an authentic faith that encouraged everyone around him.
It seemed to me that Jim loved God in a whole-hearted and uncommon way. He loved people, too. He loved his wife Kay with a “Love-your-wives-as Christ-loved-the-church” kind of love. He loved his church. He loved and made newcomers feel welcome. He loved and felt empathy for the poor and marginalized. He loved ornery people and nice people alike. I doubt Jim had enemies. If so, I’d bet he did a better job of loving them than most of us do. His was a patient and long-suffering kind of love.
The hard knocks of life tend to make some people bitter. Not Jim. He’d lost two wives and a son to illness by the time I met him. Struggle and hardship had been his companions at times, yet his hallmark was an infectious joy! The truth is, I’ve known very few people with more joy than this guy. He took Paul’s admonition to heart and let his joy be evident to all. It was a real joy that made others feel good, too.
Jim was healthy and full of vigor when I met him in 2004. Three years later Lou Gehrig’s took his life. I was able to visit with him in Oregon a few months before his journey was completed. He’d lost the ability to walk and speak but not an ounce of his effervescent love and joy!
I keep a picture of this good friend on a shelf above my desk. Remembering Jim’s example inspires me. I still feel his love and encouragement. I want to be more like Jim because he was like Jesus. He was salt and light. He had a contagious faith.
Authentic disciples help us visualize what God’s kingdom is about. Role models like my friend Jim encourage us to stick with the journey. We don’t have to be superstars, just faithful men and women who spread the aroma of Christ and help guide others along the narrow way. Jim Boyd did this; we can, too.
Persevere in love, joy, hope, grace, and mercy!