Almost 25 years ago the Lord brought a man into my life and ministry who became not only a very dear friend, but a mentor and team member. When we had our first meal together he ordered a cup of hot water.
I asked if he wanted a tea bag to go with it. He smiled and said, “No, I just drink hot water.” This was a first.
I had never met anyone who drank hot water with every meal. Of course, I asked him what was behind this culinary habit. Jim said in 1980 when he was with Billy Graham and the team in Japan he was having some intestinal problems. One of the Japanese pastors shared with him that drinking hot water with his meals would help calm the stomach and clear up the intestinal difficulties.
It did. And for the next 37 years he always had hot water with every meal.
Jim Coldiron was the epitome of a Christian gentleman and the personification of II Corinthians 5:20. He had a passion for evangelism and discipleship. A few years ago Jim was having lunch with four men who were employed at the North American Mission Board. Each one expressed their opinion that revivals and crusades were outdated.
Jim, in his wisdom and insight, quietly asked each one where they had made their professions of faith. They each replied, “In a revival.” He said it was one of his shortest luncheons ever.
He stressed the necessity for the training of counselors in revivals and crusades. In his last days he was working on plans for crusades and festivals with several directors of evangelism in the SBC who believe that some traditional methods still work and that evangelists with integrity are still a gift to the church.
As I joked with him once when we were talking about the average age of death was 93 for those who worked closely with Rev. Graham, Jim laughed and said, “It must be the hot water.” If Matthew 10:42 had been meant just for Jim Coldiron, Jesus would have said, “A cup of hot water given in My name shall not lose its reward.”
The thousands he taught in his counselor training classes in preparation for a Billy Graham Crusade will be a legacy for our Lord.
If an epitaph could describe the life of Jim Coldiron, it could easily be Proverbs 11:30, “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that wins souls is wise.” Jim was truly a humble servant of our Lord Jesus Christ. His voice, his counsel, and his encouragement will be greatly missed by all who had the privilege of calling him friend; especially this evangelist.
Jim Coldiron, passed away on July 7 in Tucker, an Atlanta suburb, after a short illness. He was 91 years of age. His obituary can be found here.