There are those times in life when a milestone has been reached and you know it. A marker has been placed in the ground that you know you will always be able to look back upon and know that, whatever happens, God was there, is there, and will always be there. We have had several of these major events in our lives.
This is what occurred when the children of Israel passed through the Jordan and each tribe piled a stone on the bank of the river as an altar of God to his faithfulness to future generations. In a way, the lives of those who have gone before us are like a stone of remembrance. As we look to the faithfulness of their lives and what it meant to us, we are encouraged and empowered to move forward in our own walk of faith.
In May of this year my 102 year old father passed through Jordan and was greeted by the One he had loved and served since he was 19 years old. The Lord granted me the privilege to be with him as he breathed his last and entered into his eternal home. While death is not attractive, the passage of my father to his real home was a holy and sacred event in my life and one I will always remember.
At his funeral, I read the plaque that hung in the back porch of our family home as I grew up: Only One Life, Twill Soon be Passed, Only What’s Done for Christ Will Last. My father’s life was rather unremarkable by human stanSdards, but his love and devotion to the Lord as well as his faithful support of missions around the world is an inspiration to me and many others. Like most of us, he was not a perfect man, but he was a good man, a faithful man. I’d take that over perfect any day.
Several years ago now, I dedicated my Mentoring Guide to my father. Since then it has been translated into six languages and is being used around the world. What I wrote then has even more meaning now that he has passed: “To my father, Rudolf K. Jeske; Thank you for showing me the heavenly Father; Thank you for being a godly example and faithfully running the face. I am proud and blessed to have you as my father.”
In the first copy of the German edition in 2005, I added this personal note: “Dear Father, Though you may not have used or known the word ‘mentoring’ this is what you did! As this book goes around the world and blesses others, may you also be blessed, knowing that your influence on me has helped produce and validate this manual.” Your son
A marker in the ground. Something to guide my life and others as we finish our own leg of the race. My prayer is that our shoulders will be as strong for others to stand upon, as his shoulders were for me to stand upon. May the work we are privileged to do around the world raise up many such men and women who will have an impact in their generation and for generations to come.