Jimmy Mark Foster fought the good fight and he finished his race — a lot sooner than any of his family and friends could have imagined — but nonetheless, he has crossed the finish line and is now the arms of Jesus.
When I got the message that Jimmy, many called him “Tiny,” had passed, I was utterly speechless. I made the messenger repeat herself, because I just knew I wasn’t hearing her correctly. Even now, I’m still in shock.
Jimmy lived 33 years on this earth, and he lived them like most of us could only dream of living our lives. The Bible says, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35).
Folks knew Jimmy was different. He let the love of Jesus shine through in how he treated others and how he carried himself. He wasn’t just happy; he knew what it meant to have joy — even in the hardest times of his life.
I remember visiting him a few years back in the hospital, and I asked what I could do for him, and he said “I’m good.” Then, that silly boy wanted to know what he could do for me. That was Jimmy.
If you ever crossed his path, then you were his friend. If you ever needed or wanted for anything, Jimmy made sure to see that you got it. He would and has literally given the shirt off his own back.
You couldn’t have a bad day, not a long one anyway, if Jimmy was around.
Jimmy and I went to school together, and even the very thought of him makes a smile break across my face. I’ll always cherish the school memories, and, even as grown-ups, Jimmy and I remained friends.
There was a memorial service for Jimmy, a South Carolina native, held here in Georgia. Many spoke about how Jimmy impacted their lives. The one word that continued to spill from the broken hearts was this — kind. Indeed Jimmy was kind. He brought a whole new meaning to the word, and that is because he lived it.
Here’s the thing: We are all human and we all make mistakes. We all have bad days and make bad choices. But, as Christians, we know that “this too shall pass” and that there is a greater glory fighting our battles for us. Jimmy knew that greater glory’s name is Jesus.
The legacy of love, grace and kindness that Jimmy left behind is one that he would be proud of. More importantly, he was one of those people that when he met Jesus face to face, Jesus would say to him, “Well done my good and faithful servant.”
As you begin to look to a new year, I ask that you remember the legacy that your Heavenly Father has placed before you — to love one another as He has loved us.
There is no greater love than the love that comes from a man who walked this earth for 33 years, died on a cross and rose again so that all men man know Him.
Jesus loved Jimmy, and Jimmy knew that and lived that way. I have to say that, now that I’m a mother, I’m incredibly sad that my daughter Joy won’t grow up to know a man named Jimmy Mark Foster.
Julie Wells is the editorial assistant in the newsroom at the Rockdale Citizen. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.