Last week, we lost a friend. Today, we lay him to rest. Friends and family of Tim Wheatley are gathering today in suburban Baltimore to pay tribute to a man who was called home before any of us would have liked.
Tim died tragically last week when his car was hit broadside as he was taking his 9-year old daughter, Sarah, to school. (Read about it here.) Just another routine day for a man who lived quietly, yet powerfully, among us.
I first met Tim when he and his wife, Beth, began attending the same adult class at our church, Berean Baptist in Burnsville, MN. Tim immediately struck me as a winsome man, with a warm smile and a great sense of humor. It was evident that he loved on Beth and later, as they were born, his children, David, Will and Sarah. Most of all, he loved the Lord. It was no surprise then, when one of the men in our class needed encouragement, that Tim was the first man I called to ask if he would join me in forming a support group. He responded without hesitation and richly contributed to strengthening not only that man, but each of us. Little did we know that that group would become the seed from which other groups would sprout, encouraging many men.
That was one of Tim’s gifts – quietly and powerfully encouraging others – and he wielded it well. We won’t fully know the extent of his ministry among us until we are, like him, called home. Tim stands among those who have finished their race, those “great cloud of witnesses” (Hebrews 12:1) now cheering us on to the finish line. Those of us still running the race are pausing today to celebrate a life well lived.
I remember Tim as a man of integrity. Tim always made time for other men and invested his time wisely between the demands of his job, the needs of his family and the opportunity to reach other men with his life. I recall Tim as being a man of action and responsibility and one that reflected his first love, Jesus Christ. We will miss Him here on this earth but we know that he is now at a place of what Scriptures call “complete maturity”. Our hearts go out to his family as they now go on without Tim’s leadership and love. But his memory lives on for those left behind. — Jeff Abramovitz, Little Rock, AR
Tim Wheatley was a man of great influence and a humble heart. Although he was known by many across our country he touched each heart with the quiet humility of his Lord Jesus Christ. Tim was an exceptional husband and father – only his Beth, David, Will and Sarah know the explanation of what that meant daily. The children will always have the legacy of being Tim Wheatley’s child and the gratitude for his influence and love. Beth will know that true love is between husband and wife until death in God’s timing causes a parting for now. For Tim’s friends and family there is a comfort that he is with his Lord Jesus free from challenge and waiting for a day in God’s plan when he is reunited with his dear family and friends. We will see him again. For those knowing Tim at some longer distance they would wonder what caused his humble influence – he would point to his savior and say it is because of Jesus Christ. And he would humbly conclude that Jesus wants to be your savior too, and Tim would give you a simple and warm smile. — Jeff Carlson, Burmsville, MN
I believe that Tim Wheatley was a man of strong conviction and integrity. Over the years, I observed how ethically he treated people, showering them with respect and dignity. I count Tim as one of my best friends over my lifetime. He always had an encouraging word for me, when I was in his presence (I don’t know what he said about me when he wasn’t with me, but I am confident it was the truth). It was my honor to have known him and his family, Beth, David, Will and Sarah, whom we are constantly in prayer and whom we consider a part of our family. Tim, you will be greatly missed by me and our family. — John Cordova, Maple Grove, MN
Tim was the kind of friend that you could easily feel close with even after years of separation. When you saw him even after a long time, it was like very little time had passed and you could just be real together very quickly. I think that was because of his basic honest and straight-forward nature that made it real easy to know him and care about him. Two of my fondest memories… One summer night I went for a walk around 10 pm. I walked by my friends and neighbors, the Wheatleys (just down the block), and saw Tim and Beth by their backyard bonfire. As always, they welcomed me to sit and talk. In fact, we talked until about 1:30 am! And there will always be the memory to cheer my heart to remember spending a winter vacation with Tim and Beth and Troy at Lutsen ski resort. Tim and Beth were the bravest students as Troy and I led them to a very challenging hill to teach them to ski. None-the-less, they showed great perseverance with our amateur teaching. It was a time of a lot of laughter! — Larry Krynski, Lakeville, MN
As I’ve been thinking about Tim and his legacy of men whose lives he touched, I came across this verse in Hebrews: “Remember your leaders who taught you the word of God. Think of all the good that has come from their lives, and follow the example of their faith.”. Hebrews 13:7. — Merlyn Meinerts, Lakeville, MN
Tim and his family have been special friends of ours for more than 16 years. We spent several New Year’s together after they moved to Indianapolis. It was always so much fun to get together and catch up. I loved talking sports with Tim – and of course, he sure knew his stuff. Tim impressed me with the balance he maintained in his life. Though his work was demanding, he was one who had his priorities in line. Tim had a competitive nature that surfaced every time we got together and played cards well into the night. He seemed to always have a calm demeanor until something competitive came up. It was so much fun to see him get so in to whatever the event was. But, I guess as a sports guy, the competitive nature is there. We are so deeply saddened by Tim’s passing. I will forever remember the fun of camping together, going to the Dells, and our many visits even after the Wheatley’s moved away. While we may never know why Tim was taken at this time, there is comfort in knowing he was a brother in Christ and that we will one day share with him the joy he is experiencing now. Tim – we miss you, brother! Our prayers and support will continue on for Beth and the kids. — Doug Munson, Burnsville, MN
Tim Wheatley, you never expect the quiet ones to be the passionate pursuers but that is exactly what I saw in Tim. Tim pursued Beth with patience and a resolved commitment to their relationship. He was willing to wait for a future that was not clear, but he had faith in his pursuit. The prize was the beautiful relationship and family that grew out of his dedication. Tim approached his relationship to God in the same way. He was a quiet, passionate pursuer of God. His life has left a legacy for other pursuers and he has received his reward. We will miss him until the day we join him around the throne of God. — Troy Nelson, Maple Grove
Tim invited me into his home and a bible study many years ago. I quickly found myself drawn to him. He shared stories of his own father’s quiet time in the early morning and what that meant to him. I was blessed with his friendship, encouraged by his love of the Lord and amazed in watching him love his family. Tim served well! We love you Tim Wheatley and will greatly miss your sense of humor and wonderful smile. — Brian Parkinson, Lakeville
I did not have the privilege of being a soulmate or a small group partner with Tim. In fact, we interacted face-to-face only a few times over our shared years at Berean. However, I know him as a brother through the influence of his life on others; others with whom I am a close friend. Their instantaneous and universal testimony about Tim is that he invested in them as a friend, a follower of Jesus, and as a builder of the living church. As a pastor, that has directly enriched my life, and given me joy as I remember my brother, Tim. Jesus Christ lived through the time, the priorities, and the investments Tim set for himself and his family. Our hearts are heavy for you, Beth, David, Will & Sarah, as you deal with your loss of your husband and father. But know this: his legacy is known by many, and that legacy is eternal. He added the momentum of his life to the witness, the care, the growth, and the joy of the body of Christ. In Tim’s life those were not just ideals and theories. They were life-giving investments that will reverberate through the generations. He served his Master well. It was my privilege to watch him giving his life to others. — Pastor Roger Thompson, Berean Baptist Church, Burnsville
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