So last week I wrote about why I love what I do and this past week I got to see that reality lived out in my brother’s life too. My brother, Jim, and his family moved to Panama last summer so that he could teach Bible and become the Spiritual Life Coordinator at Crossroads Christian Academy. I happen to be in Panama this week for CLC’s International Council meetings and got to spend a couple of days with him and the family beforehand.
On Friday, I was able to shadow him and watch him teach. Watching Jim teach was a little like watching Cliff Lee or Roy Halladay pitch – he made it seem so effortless. Even though his classes are a lot bigger than they were in Spain where he used to teach, he handled the classes in such a way that the kids really paid attention (for the most part that is). I was intimidated just to get up in front of the kids and tell them who I was and I actually speak in public on a regular basis. There is just something about middle school kids that can put the fear of God in the most confident speaker. Despite this, Jim actually taught a four point lesson and got the kids to interact in such a way that I could tell that they were “getting it” and even seemed to like learning about the Bible. As I listened to Jim present the story of Jesus confounding the Jewish leaders by responding to their attempts to trap him by asking some tough questions of His own, I realized once again what a great savior we serve.
Right before I left for Panama, I got the news that my father-in-law, Ted Chapman, had gone home to heaven to be with his Lord and savior. Though I never got to see Ted at work, I knew that he loved what he did. For most of his adult life, he was a naval architect and designed ships. How I knew that he loved his work was from the many conversations that we had about ships, and for some reason, the windows on the ships that he had designed or seen. In his later years, he had the joy of taking a number of cruises and spending lots of time on ships while exploring various parts of the world.
While Ted certainly enjoyed his work, he loved his family and his Lord even more. I have been very blessed to be a part of the Chapman clan for the past twenty three years and was able to see the way that God used Ted to cherish his family as only a Godly father could. He was a supremely kind and gentle person who often got frustrated at the injustice he saw in the world around him. There was not a single day that my wife, her siblings or her mother ever had to wonder if they were loved by this man. I only hope that I can live up to the example he left us all as I learn to love my own family in the way that he did.
Ted may not have become world famous while he was alive, but he certainly will have the joy of hearing the word’s “well done thou good and faithful servant” from the person that mattered the most to him. His was a life well lived and one that focused on the eternal not the fleeting pleasures of this world. While so many of get weary in well doing and caught up in the busyness of every day life, I will always remember Ted as a man of quiet faith who lived it daily and was truly fulfilled.