When I was in high school, I worked for a man named Richard Jinks. A couple times asked for a letter of recommendation. Over the years, I would remember … but then forget. When he passed, I remembered his request. This was initially published in my mom’s column the El Dorado News Times and she keeps it on her blog called JottingJoan.com, I wanted to share it on my blog, too.
To whom it may concern: I understand that Richard Jinks is up for promotion. I hope that you will consider what I have to say. Richard Jinks is amazing in many ways. I have known him from my youth. He is a good leader. He demonstrates a desire to develop community through work at church. I could tell stories of his ability to draw or develop men of character by taking boys into the woods and showing them survival techniques. His lawn service demonstrates his diligence in providing for his family. However, that is not the best understanding of Richard. Initially I thought his character would be summed up in his ability to tell a story, but still there is much more. The first day I went to work Mr. Jinks clearly demonstrated his character better than any other synopsis I have seen. It was early in the morning. I was used to my old push mower at home, so once I started the mower, I knew to push. But I dared not push the lever because I did not want to kill the motor. On that first job, there was a hill that was better for demonstrating gravity than for pushing a professional mower across. Richard observed as I pushed, that the mower drifted downhill rather than making the nice smooth back and forth cuts I was supposed to make. He said, “Hey, Nate, why don’t you push that lever?” I responded that I did not want to kill the engine – but I gave it a try at his admonition. Rather than die, as I had expected, the mower practically jerked out of my hand, surging forward to cut the grass. Cutting the grass on the hill afterward was easier because the mower did all the work as I walked behind it. This makes a fun story, but we are just now getting to the reason for this recommendation. Richard’s character really shines in his reflection on this mundane event. He pointed out that I “was cutting grass without using the self-propelling mechanism in the same way people sometimes try to push through life, on their own, doing it without God. Trust in God will not kill mojo, rather He is the power for life when circumstances are pulling us down,” Richard said. In a way, Richard’s insight animates what Jesus meant when he said “my yoke is easy.” That lesson sticks with me, and the application is so universal that I share this story in many situations. When I am trying to be good enough on my own, rather than trusting in Jesus’ sufficiency, this is my reminder. This letter of recommendation is unnecessary for him now that he has passed on. Besides, his life serves as a pointer to Christ – He is the true letter of recommendation. Richard knows that even more now than he did when he was with us. Since Jesus took care of Richard’s letter of recommendation a long time ago, I share this letter here to encourage others with Richard’s lesson. Embrace life. Love your family. But most of all rely on God and listen for His word however it comes. We are leaving a legacy. I hope that mine and yours point to Christ in such a marked way as Richard Jinks. Respectfully, Nathan Hershberger