Someone said of Mr. Walters that he earned the nickname “Big Jim” because he was “…larger than life.” He deserved the title because he did so many good things for so many people. He made things happen. Places like the Hall County YMCA, the Northeast Georgia Medical Center, Lakeview Academy, Lanier Technical College, and Brenau University would not be what they are today except for the love and commitment of this great man to serve their cause by doing good on their behalf.
The Bible says, “Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear, and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life…” (John 5:28-29b)
Surely, Mr. Walters when he hears the voice of Jesus calling his name, he will rise for the good that he has accomplished in this life.
I came to know Mr. Jim because of his love for our church and the good he did for us making the current place of ministry come to be. As you remember, we were in rented space next door to Loretta’s restaurant. Rent was going up annually and we were praying about God making some new location available where we could move to a place of our own. We wanted a place where people would feel good about coming to church. We prayed for a place that we could afford. Mr. Jim heard about our prayer through Carol Childers, his CPA and faithful 40-year executive employee. Ken Pethel, Carol’s brother, appealed our case and cultivated his interest. With God’s help, Mr. Walters made this current location at 4026 Mundy Mill Road not only affordable for us, but, pledged his support to make the purchase possible.
The first time I met Mr. Jim, I asked him to tell me about his relationship to Jesus. He talked to me about his childhood love for Jesus and the life he enjoyed growing up in church. He assured me that he believed in Jesus and trusted him to be his savior. When Mr. Jim first spoke to our church, he asked me not to call him a philanthropist, which he certainly is, but to refer to him as a steward of God’s resources. I really liked that about him. Here at Grace, Mr. Jim Walters is more than a donor, or a person you name buildings after. This great man is a trustee and steward of the influence and blessings God placed in his keeping. Our church is a recipient of and a beneficiary of his love, commitment to Jesus and the generosity of his personal stewardship.
How can I help but practice good stewardship when God placed such a faithful person in my path?
I will forever be grateful to God for the testimony of and love Jim Walters extended to me and our church family.