It's the call you never want to receive. Your best friend has been tragically killed in a automobile accident.
It was May 30, 1996, when my father, Kevin Sr., received just such a call. Jim Frew—Dad's best friend—was on a missions trip in Mexico when a van coming down a mountain lost its brakes and struck their vehicle, sending it careening down a 600' cliff. Jim, his eldest son Jimmy, and two ladies on their team were killed in the accident.
My dad and I recently visited Jim's widow Lori in Nebraska and spent some time with her and her family. I remembered Jim from my childhood, and it was neat hearing stories about his life. During our drive home I asked Dad to tell me more about Jim, and what made him an exemplary, inspirational, great friend. Here's what he said.
Jim was a family man. He always spoke highly of his wife and sons. He included his wife in decisions and didn't purchase even books without checking with her. Money was tight and I think Jim knew he would blow the money, so having his wife as a financial accountability partner was good for him. He really loved and cared for his sons.
He spent time with his them and always tried to attend their school and sports activities. He would spend evening playing his guitar and singing with them, talking to them about the Lord, and praying with them.
Jim was authentic. He was the one male friend I could share anything with: frustrations, works issues, life issues, etc. Jim was trustworthy. He always kept confidential things confidential.
Jim practiced accountability. We worked out a code of ethics between us. He would walk by my open office door every 10 minutes when I had a female in the office, and I would do the same for him. The funny thing was that his office was at the end of the hall, so me walking by his office probably looked strange to the woman! Being the first time in ministry for both us us, and having our wives and kids at home, we wanted to start out on the right ethical foot and avoid any appearance of evil or impropriety.
Jim was fun. He knew how to laugh and joke and enjoyed life completely. He was always fun to be around. He was self-deprecating. Even in embarrassing situations, Jim was always quick to laugh at himself and never took himself too seriously.
Jim could throw a softball over 80 mph. He had a rocket arm. He knew and enjoyed the game, coaching new players, and helping everyone play their positions properly; and he did it without a condescending bone in his body. He chatted with the players on the field and in the dugout, always encouraging and always cracking jokes.
Jim had solid friendships. To make friends you have to be a friend. Jim was a friend to many, many people and made each of us feel very special.
Jim was caring. Jim would give you the shirt off his back. One time he loaned his 35mm camera and equipment to someone. They never returned it! Yet Jim never bothered to go after it. He concluded that the person must have needed it more then he did.
Another time I needed a second set of wheels to travel back and forth to work while leaving the car with my wife. I don't recall making my need known, but one day Jim handed me the keys and deed to his Honda motorcycle. He never had any regret, and never gave it a second thought.
Jim was a team player. Jim and I hosted an early morning “live” radio show for 2 years. We always met to discuss the show, line up musical guests, and prepare messages.
Jim was a man of prayer. Jim and I met often to pray over family, church situations, missionaries, friends, etc. He never missed an opportunity to pray.
Jim was respectful. Jim knew his place. He was always honoring of those in authority and respectful to peers with whom he worked.
What qualities do you look for in a good friend?
How are you a good friend to others?
Of the characteristics listed above, which ones would you say you need to grow in?
Who is your Jim Frew?
Who are you a being a Jim Frew to?