"LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary?
Who may live on your holy hill?
"He whose walk is blameless
and who does what is righteous,
who speaks the truth from his heart
and has no slander on his tongue,
who does his neighbor no wrong
and casts no slur on his fellowman,
who despises a vile man
but honors those who fear the LORD,
who keeps his oath
even when it hurts,
who lends his money without usury
and does not accept a bribe against the innocent.
"He who does these things
will never be shaken" (Psalm 15).
As I read these verses recently, I kept thinking of a fellow member of the Contact Church. In fact, he was instrumental in persuading Frank Lott to leave his ministry in Chicago in order to help start the urban ministry which eventually evolved into the Contact Church.
Jim is in his 70s, but he has never retired from serving the Lord. For 40 years, he worked in the insurance business. He became such a respected businessman that he was urged by leaders of his political party to run for Congress. He declined the offer, believing it would be detrimental to his family (as I remember his reasoning).
He has been a pillar of faith and faithfulness throughout his life as a follower of Christ. While working a full-time job, Jim often served as an interim preacher for small congregations that were in need of someone to preach "in the worst possible way." As he describes it with a little self-deprecating humor, "I fit the qualifications."
I remember when the urban ministry was just getting started, Jim and his wife Judy invited a couple of young homeless men to live in their house until they got on their feet. At that point, I became impressed with not just his ability to communicate and to encourage, but also with his willingness to take risks for the sake of Christ and others.
In the years I have known him, I cannot remember Jim talking in any negative way about anyone. I suspect that he has had to confront some bad behavior and troublemakers, but he must have done so privately. He does not tend to talk about such things.
Jim is a solid Christian man who has made a difference without seeking to draw attention to himself. Even today, he teaches an average of three private Bible studies each week, in addition to teaching Bible classes and filling in as a preacher at the Contact Church when needed. He is a model of character.
When I reach retirement age, I hope the same kinds of things can be said about me and my legacy.