My friend just died. He was closer than a brother. (Proverbs 18:24). He was 46 years young. Questions pertaining to how he died, when he died and why he died, are irrelevant. The question to ask and ponder is, how did he live? I will tell you.
He lived to serve God and his fellow men. Is that not our duty? (1 John 4:21). While we are justified by faith (Romans 3:28), faith without works is dead. (James 2:26). He came from a family that is without ego, humble, and that seeks to serve, a heritage grander than having a silver spoon. He taught children’s Sabbath School, told wondrous children’s stories in church, coached a children’s baseball team in the church league, volunteered at Adventist Community Services, chaired his church school board, served on the Takoma Academy Board of Trustees, welcomed each person who crossed the threshold of his church on Sabbath and prayed with callers to the Hope Channel. And I am just getting warmed up. You get the idea. What he had he shared, and willingly with gladness. A kinder soul one would be hard-pressed to find.
God gave me the opportunity to see the arc of his life and to intersect with it for my betterment. I mentored him and he looked up to me (which is hard, because he was taller). In turn, I learned from his selfless ways and developed my own relationship with his parents. He laughed at my voice impersonation of a self-help guru, caught my basketball passes (most times that is, despite his “hands of stone,” which lead to his nickname) and completed the assists with a patented move - tongue peeking out of his mouth. We debated law and politics, and told jokes and stories that made us cry. His heart, I posit, was as large as his oversized feet. I watched in pride as he married an exquisite beauty, whose inner strength and character exceeded the perfection of her outward appearance. Despite those hands of stone, I saw him cradle his newborn son with gentle pride in a quiet hospital room. Along with his brother, he took upon those hands the task of injecting his mother with her cancer medication. I was honored to have those hands roll out the aisle runner from my young bride.
In death he sought to share the gift of life with others. Hands, heart, and feet of Jesus! Check, check, and check! I miss my brother. Jesus wept at the death of Lazarus. (John 11:35). Christ knows our pain and sorrow. Soon, He will wipe every tear from our eyes, and there will be no more death, or mourning, or crying, or pain, for the old order of things will pass away. (Revelation 21:4).
My friend’s name, you ask? Rajakumar. In his parents’ language it means child of the king. Fitting. He lived up to his name. Do not wait for Jesus to come: live for Jesus to come. My brother did.