a trusted counselor or guide
a mentor who, because he is slightly detached, can hold up a mirror to us
James Anthony Lesniak would have celebrated his 69th Birthday today, Unfortunately, Jim left this earth too soon in the spring of 2016, Today I reflect on the man that was monumental in my life and would always hold a mirror up to examine all important areas of my life to challenge me to be the best I can be and propel forward.
Below are my notes of what I share on the day of his celebration of life. I share this today to once again Honor Jim on his Birthday for everything he bestowed on me and secondly to challenge those who read to really ask themselves who are you impacting and being a mentor or a role model to? If no one comes to mind, then be on the look out for the opportunities each and everyday going forward.
Today I stand here to Honor my Friend, My Mentor, My Coach and My Brother in the Lord, Jim Lesniak.
My name is Philip Scarborough
I met brother Jim while attending Calvary Chapel in Jacksonville Beach
In early 2004 I was newlywed and my wife and I were invited to a small group on Money Map Training, Jim and Jenny’s were the leaders.
This class was a strong building block for our marriage and came at the perfect time. We enjoyed the Leadership of Jim and Jenny and were blessed that they opened up their house and hearts as they shared how to handle God’s Money (Cause it’s all God’s Money, Jim would say)
Sometime after this money map training, a coffee date was set at the newly constructed St. Johns Town Center.
I do not recall how, or why, we decided to meet up but looking back it was all part of God’s plan, as this was the start of a regular meet up over the course of the next decade.
I say Coffee Date, Cause Meeting with Jim was like going on a continuous first date. I was always so excited to get there and when I arrived he was always charged up too.
He would always ask what was new or exciting, anything wild and crazy?
Jim was excited to listen and of course share stories.
There were stories of:
• Trips to Arizona, Sarasota, and North Carolina and Wisconsin
• Annual Fishing Tournaments of Men, (had to be fish story in there somewhere)
• College Courses he took for fun
• On going to Ministry with Crown Financial and the Salvation Army
• Individual and small business Coaching
• Kingdom advisor meet-ups
• BSF (I could never remember what BSF stood for but I just knew it was a rigorous study of God Word, and most likely way over my head)
• And of course stories about all his family, loved ones, and one Crazy Labrador, the list and details could go on and on.
I would get so entrenched with collaborating with Jim that he would have to remind me…Phil, now it’s time for you to go to work.
I was slow to leave; my boss would know why I was late. Time with Jim was the only reason worth coming in late. She would say, “Coffee with Jim this morning?”
It’s funny but we never kept a schedule on when we met, I think it just happened naturally as God filled us with new stories, victories, and challenges.
We always just ended up coming back together, to step back and share with one another, rarely did a few weeks go by before we reconnected.
As the years went on our relationship grew and Jim was my go to guy for many things. He was, of course, my financial coach and I his prized student. We would study the markets and try to beat Warren Buffet.
My wife would even comment prior to any major purchases we made “Did you run that by JIM”.
If there was any sense of hesitation we weren’t buying a darn thing.
There were many discussions where Jim would lead with, The Crown Financial in me Phil would recommend the XYZ approach. He would always challenge me.
Speaking of challenging, Jim had a mental list of items that he would be sure we covered during our visits. Jim would ask, Phil How it’s going with:
He believed that I was running the show at Fidelity and was fond of saying that he would be able to say I knew you when
How is your relationship with God, are you taking time out for HIM to direct your path
Are you going to the gym? He would thankfully cut me some slack in this area
• Financial: Are you paying down debt and Investing
Are you making time for family? After our morning coffee, he would send a follow-up e-mail to say plan something fun with the family this weekend cause all work and no play makes for a boring life. )
His concern was to always make sure that all of these areas were in balance.
Jim would say, Phil take time and smell a flower, but at the end of that sentence, he would say keep running like mad because you are still young.
When my first child was born Jim started to refer to me as Parker’s Dad, his way of shifting focus on my new responsibilities as a Father.
Jim’s way of coming around to what really mattered was priceless.
As the juggling acts of life got crazy with a couple kids, two jobs and ministry, Jim would remind me by pulling at his shirt and saying, “remember there is no S under there (referring to Superman of course).”
I know God connected us for many reasons, God used him so very mightily, and it was always about the Lord and not about either one of us.
Jim’s friendship is absolutely one of the greatest gifts God has given me.
I say Gift because as I have been trying to cope with this grief I realized I do not have anything material that Jim and I ever exchanged. Our relationship was so much more than any material item.
When we first started to meet I was a young man striving for success in this world.
With God working through Jim to truly help open my eyes I have gone from striving for success to focusing on significance.
I stand here today making a promise to all of you, Jim’s Legacy and Significance will live on. I will share his wisdom, his selfless servant’s heart, his accountability, and his modeling of what a follower of Christ looks like.
Jim invested in the lives of many and I know he is reaping a great reward in Heaven today.
I have to ask you, Who is it that God wants you to invest in? You never know how a little coffee talk can significantly change a life.
One of the last texts Jim sent me contained two bible verses.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs. 3:5-6
And the very last one,
This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm118:24
I am glad today knowing my friend, my mentor and my brother in the Lord is at rest in God’s Heavenly Kingdom.
And I choose to rejoice for the Gift God gave us, Jim Lesniak…