Tribute To Jeff

(Read at Jeff's funeral)

Philippians 1: 19-21 says this: For I know that through your prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ , what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. I will eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but I will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

I read this passage and immediately thought of my brother, Jeff. He lived the last 2 years of his life with a courage that I have never known. He was a man that truly lived to bring glory to God, no matter what the circumstance. In Philippians, Paul goes on to say that he is torn as to whether he would rather stay here on earth, or to depart and be with Christ. Jeff wanted to see Heaven. I know he was torn, though, because of the love he had for his family here. He wanted to fulfill what God had called him to do until the day he was called home. Jeff ran his race, and on September 30, 2006, Jeff crossed the finish line, and was I’m sure he was greeted with cheers! For the last few days, he has not only reunited with people he knew while he was here that had gone before him, but he has been meeting all of the people in the Bible that were influential to his faith. I believe that Jeff has left such a legacy behind, that he will also continue to influence people’s faith for years to come, just like Noah, Moses, and Abraham.

I always felt lucky to be the youngest child with three older brothers. My likes and dislikes were absolutely influenced by my brothers. When we were little, I would have never imagined that Jeff would be as influential spiritually to me as he has been. He had such patience with God...a peace that surpassed all understanding. I will still never forget Jeff singing in his hospital room: “I’m alive and well, Your Spirit is within me, because you died and rose again.” And I know now how much truth there was in that one line of that song. Nothing could take Jeff’s faith from him, and for that he was living more than most of us. Jeff and I will share a bond for the rest of my life. I fought so hard to keep him here, I prayed with all of the faith I could find. How amazing it must have been to have Heaven overflowing with Jeff’s rewards for his perseverance! Jeff has helped me get on my feet to learn how run this race, and when I finish, I know he will be one of the first to greet me with that big bright smile. Until then, I will persevere, and I pray I can do it as courageously as Jeff. I will look forward to the day that my Big Brother meets me at the gates, and introduces me to my Heavenly Father.


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