See ya later, Big Jim

I began working at Eastman Kodak’s giant Elmgrove manufacturing plant in Rochester, N.Y. in 1976 at the age of nineteen. One of the first jobs I had was in Bldg. 3 Stock Control (parts warehouse) assisting a big, burly guy named Jim Moon. Jim was a “line reader,” meaning he walked one of the many camera production lines in Bldg. 2 every day and re-ordered parts as needed. My job was to deliver the parts to the line.

Big Jim was different from the other guys in the warehouse. He had a Bible on his desk, which he read during lunch break. Above his desk were a few decorative print-outs praising Jesus. It was noticeable that Jim didn’t join in the ribald banter with the other warehouse guys. Uh-oh. Jim was one of those born-again Bible-bangers I’d heard about! I had better watch out! However, Jim and I eventually had several conversations about spiritual things. I specifically remember him enthusiastically talking about Bob Dylan and his alleged conversion to Gospel Christianity (see the related post here). I also remember discussing the Baptist Temple Building in downtown Rochester, the topic of a future post. Jim would slip God into a conversation every now and then. It wasn’t unnatural or forced. That’s just the way Big Jim rolled.

After several months, I moved on to another position at Kodak. In 1983, I actually became one of those “Bible-bangers” myself when I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior. Jim’s witness wasn’t a “direct” influence on my conversion to Christ, but it was an influence.

I’ve thought about Jim every once in a while over the years and wondered what happened to him. A few weeks ago, I was reading the death notices in the local newspaper and noticed his obituary. Jim had retired from Kodak many years ago and moved down to Mt. Juliet, Tennessee (20 miles from Nashville) with his wife. He died at the age of 89, which means he was only around 45 when we worked together. I would have guessed he was much older at the time, but everybody is “old” when you’re 19-20. I remember Jim had sold his house and moved into an apartment in the late 70s to finance his son Jeffrey’s education at Oral Roberts University. Oral Roberts? Well, Jim and I definitely would not have worshiped at the same church, but we were brothers in Christ just the same.

I’m looking forward to seeing Jim in Heaven and thanking him for his witness.

The lesson: Christians, the unsaved are watching and listening. Give them something to think about. They may not react right away. We’re just to keep sowing the seed.

16 thoughts on “See ya later, Big Jim

    1. Thanks, David! Although we worked together for only a very short time, just a few months, I have several solid memories of Big Jim 40+ years later because of his witness for Christ.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. Amen to that lesson, Tom! My husband Bob is preparing to retire within a year and was lamenting yesterday that, when he leaves, his dept will start to unravel. (Apparently, no one is as diligent as him!)
    But I encouraged him to see that the most important thing he can leave behind is his Christian witness. He often shares nuggets of Gospel truth with coworkers as the Lord opens the door.
    Big Jim left the fragrance of Christ – I look forward to meeting him too!
    I hope all is well brother.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Lisa Beth! I got a chuckle re: “no one is as diligent as him!” Yes, the most important legacy we leave behind is our faith in Christ. Doing well, thanks! Recharging my batteries for the upcoming weekend (I in contrast don’t lament a bit about my upcoming retirement). I hope all is well for you in the Big Apple!

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  2. Can you imagine how joyful Jim would have been if he had known that many years later you would be writing this post! We sow the seed and leave it it the Lord’s hands.

    Billy and I are praying that the Lord give you strength to endure on your job until your retirement.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Cathy! Yup, Jim would have been tickled. We need to focus on being faithful sowers rather than occasional arm-twisters.

      Thank you for your prayers! Only 21 weekends to go.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great story, Tom. I can completely relate. I think back all of the time about people I knew and wonder where they are. I looked up my best Christian friend in high school and found out that he is now a pastor for young adults at a large church. I started seeing his facebook posts and sadly discovered that he liked Bill Johnson at Bethel, Redding. I “voiced” my concerns via email and facebook and he got upset with me. We agreed to disagree but you can imagine my concern.
    Guys like Jim Moon are the reason most people become Christians (through the Holy Spirit, of course). May we take his example and be salt and light to our world as well.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Chris! Yup in the journey to Christ, it’s usually a lot of “little things” that eventually lead to a personal/spiritual crisis aka tipping point. The Holy Spirit does amazing work.
      RE: May we take his example and be salt and light to our world as well.

      Amen!

      Too bad about your old friend getting involved with Bill Johnson and Bethel Redding. There’s a lot of that going around.

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  4. Good reminder of being aware of our witness, Tom. You just never know, do ya? Is it just me or is your smile getting bigger as the retirement day approaches! As few more short weeks and you will be looking like you have a coat hanger stuck in there! Blessings Tom.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Bruce! Nope, we never know how the Holy Spirit will use our witness.
      Retirement? I never give it a thought (actually, there’s 21.571428571 weeks to go!).
      Blessings to you, brother!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. My condolences; this makes me think about how we need to live for Jesus…in every part of life. Work place too. We think people we work with come and go and it is true; but the ability to make an eternal impact is huge. Thanks for sharing this

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