Losing a Friend but only for Now
During my almost seventy-two years, I have had some wonderful friends. As I have gotten older, it seems these friends are getting older too. Sadly, some of these wonderful friends have disappeared from our vision. Thankfully, however, they have not disappeared from our memories. Furthermore, the friends I am remembering today will be friends in eternity as well. The reason is simple: they were friends of my Friend Jesus. This week, my friend Jeff Hardel, departed to be with our mutual Friend Jesus. He will be missed, but it is only temporary.
Jeff Was Fruitful
When I think of Jeff, I think of the passage in Galatians that talks about what a Spirit-filled life looks like. Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV) says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Jeff was not just a good friend, but he was a follower of Jesus, a faithful friend, a kind servant, a helper, an encourager, and a man who pressed on in his faith. It was a real blessing to hear him pray in our small group. I will miss him.
Jeff was Joyfully Generous
Jeff and his wife Rita shared their time and their resources. More than once we have been guests at their farm and it has always been a positive experience. One of my recent memories includes one that happened on January 3rd. Jeff was always looking for ways to help others. When he saw that an elderly couple in our church had a large tree branch obstructing their driveway, he told us about it. I told him I would be happy to go with him to help him clear the driveway. Jeff, his brother-in-law Ron, and I went there on that chilly afternoon. I remember the joy and energy that Jeff put into that act of service and love. It wasn’t the only time I saw this in action. His works matched his faith. He displayed his faith in Christ and his love for his Savior by his labors and active love for others.
Jeff Loved Others
He showed love to our grandchildren, daughter, and son-in-law, and patiently taught them things about shooting both guns and archery.
I recall that he helped me when I was rebuilding our deck a couple of years ago. He had a sense of joy and peace that made him a delight to be around.
I also remember some earlier interactions with Jeff on a 2017 Canada fishing trip. He was always a positive part of all of the times I spent with him. That was true whether we were in Jeff in Rita’s home, on their farm, fishing in Canada, or spending time in our small group on Sunday evenings. He lived well and served his Savior well. He finished his race well.
Jeff is HOME in His New Tent
I know the tent where Jeff now lives. It is the tent the Psalmist talks about in Psalm 15. He honored those who fear the Lord. He loved at all times. His sweet counsel wasn’t just in words, it was in action. He taught others how to live well.
Proverbs 17:17 “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” (ESV)
Proverbs 27:9 “Oil and perfume make the heart glad, and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel.” (ESV)
“O Lord, who shall sojourn in your tent? Who shall dwell on your holy hill? He who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart; who does not slander with his tongue and does no evil to his neighbor, nor takes up a reproach against his friend; in whose eyes a vile person is despised, but who honors those who fear the Lord; who swears to his own hurt and does not change; who does not put out his money at interest and does not take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things shall never be moved.” Psalm 15:1-5 ESV