Monday, 11 June 2012

A Tribute to Jean Jaque Zbinden - A Director of IBTI & a spiritual father to many

I recently had the honour to say a few words at the funeral service of a great man.  

What an honour to pay tribute to a man who I have always looked up to and respected as a spiritual father.   JJ was someone who walked the talk and lived what he believed and taught from God’s word the Bible.  He was a Christ-like example in character and was fully devoted to following Jesus and serving his purposes in his life time. 

There are many things I could say about JJ today if time permitted.  I will always remember his unique humour, his contagious laughter, His remarkable singing voice, his stimulating lectures as a student, his resilient faith and the many stories and experiences spanning the years of his rich and full life he was happy to share.  I could go on….

However, the one word that stands out when I think of Jean Jaque Zbinden is a quality that challenges all of us here today, is the word devoted.  That is the man I knew!

1.      Devoted to God – Sincere, honest, humble and earnest in prayer

2.     Devoted to his ministry and calling
a.       He was passionate about teaching the Bible.  At IBTI but around the world.  Former students would request his ministry.

b.      He was committed to the training young men and women to preach the gospel and to plant and pastor churches around the world.  Some talk about this but JJ along with others have done it!

c.       He was Full of faith that God would provide all the IBTI’s needs; whatever they were.  As a student this blew me away as I saw God’s provision time and time again.  This was living by faith and it was modelled for all students and not just taught!

3.     Devoted to the local church
Whatever the season in church life, whether the local church had a leader or not, local people could depend JJZ to be there.  He loved the people and cared for the church. He faithfully continued to pastor and feed the flock as best he could.  He was devoted, a man who was worth double honour.

4.     Devoted to his family
He loved his wife Dorthy and together they became a unique team that  became a great blessing around the world.   They were given to hospitality and  willingly shared their home with friends, family, staff of IBTI, visitors and students.

He loved you Mark and Terry and would support you and be with you no matter what.  I always asked about you on my visits to IBTI over the 20 years of lecturing here and his eyes were filled with love and tenderness as he spoke of you both.  Devoted to you probably more than you will know!

He is a man who leaves a legacy for us all – A faithful and devoted life.

Right up until his passing away, Jean Jaque was not relaxing into retirement but was as passionate as ever in his service for the Lord.  Preaching, pastoring, guiding and leading the local church, on missions teaching in Africa and continuing to teach more lectures at IBTI than anyone else. 

His passion and commitment to Jesus Christ his Lord and saviour filled his soul every new day.  He experienced God’s steadfast love and endless mercy filling his life, and he had to do what he was made to do -  To preach and teach God’s word to as many as he could because he know that harvest was plentiful and the workers are few.  A devoted man. 

Great men like Fred Squire, John Wildrianne, Jean Jaque Zbinden and others have given their lives in selfless service to God’s work at IBTI,   Let us who love and support IBTI take up the baton and continue to assist in seeing as many young men and women trained in the work of the Lord in our day as they did in theirs.  I would ask us all to get behind the vision of IBTI in whatever way we can.