Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A Life Well Lived

I am hesitant to write a blog about a good friend that passed away yesterday. My hesitancy is out of concern that I will do an injustice by not having the right words or that I will somehow dishonor his memory because of my lack of skill in articulating what is on my heart.

I consider myself incredibly blessed to have known Jake Malone and to call him my friend. My friendship with Jake began when Carol and I joined First Baptist Church of Augusta, Georgia way back in the early 1980's. Jake was one of the ministers on staff then and continued to be until early this year when he was diagnosed with cancer and his health no longer allowed him to work. He served First Baptist for 33 years in many ministry areas...youth, recreation, senior adults and church administration. But Jake's influence on First Baptist (and folks all over the community and world for that matter) went far beyond his ministry titles or specific job duties in those roles. With the support (and I'm sure gentle prodding now and then) of his loving ministry partner Delores, his wife of 44 years, Jake showed us what loving Jesus and serving Jesus looks like.

Jake was a lover of people because I think he took very seriously Jesus' command to us to love others. But I don't think Jake loved out of a sense of obligation. He just had that kind of heart. Jake demonstrated that love sometimes with bear hugs (and that is the only appropriate description for a hug from Jake Malone,) big smiles, a listening ear, a prayer with you, gentle advice, firm guidance, great encouragement and a genuineness that few people possess.

Not sure how people felt about Jake Malone? If you have a Facebook account, log in and look up his Facebook page (I apologize if you can't access it.) Read the comments. Read the testimonies from people from all over the world that were touched by this wonderful man. I will never forget the countless times Jake spoke words to me, often with tears in his eyes, that were intended to lift me up, to encourage me, to make me feel like I was special. But I also think that Jake was simply speaking the words that he thought Jesus would speak to me if He were sitting in front of me.

Jake was by no means a perfect man. He would be the first one to admit that. But he had a perfect Savior and Jake tried to live a life that was in accordance with how he thought God wanted him to live.

That's a life well lived.

Matthew 22:36-40

New International Version (NIV)
36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.


Anonymous said...

You did good, Mike!!
Julie Berry

T.Reed Gary's Blog said...

Jake was my "spiritual gero" and you honor him with this blog. Many thanks Mike - your brother in Christ. Reed