A Tribute to Mr. James Ronald (1)

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James A. Ronald
March 1, 1911 – February 14, 2003

James Alexander Ronald was born in Delisle, SK, the third of eight children born to William and Elizabeth Ronald. In 1926 the family moved to Portage la Prairie, MB, and it was here, in 1927, that Jim came to know the Lord Jesus as his Savior. Shortly after his conversion he was invited by an older Christian to accompany him in visiting hospitals, institutions, and homes in the Portage area and giving out gospel literature. On Sunday afternoons, during the summer season, gospel meetings were held in schools and town halls.

In winter Jim often took time away from his work and traveled to northern areas of the province, usually on the weekly or bi-weekly train. At that time the majority of the towns and villages were built along the railway tracks. He made a point of taking note of those who showed an interest in spiritual things. On later trips he would again visit these homes. The Lord honored his efforts and individuals came to know the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior. As Jim’s interest in taking the gospel to outlying areas grew, he became convinced it was the Lord’s will to leave his secular work and give himself to gospel outreach activities full-time. In 1947 he received a letter of commendation signed by seven elders of the Portage assembly.

The prairie provinces of Manitoba and Saskatchewan became Jim’s field of evangelism. He believed the most effective way for him to evangelize was to visit door to door with gospel tracts and to speak personally with individuals. When he found people who were interested in the gospel, he returned to that area and held meetings using a community building, the local school, or, during the summer and autumn months, a tent or portable hall. Eternity will reveal many who came to trust Christ as a result of this personal contact. Mr. Alex Wilson spent many summers on the prairie helping evangelize the towns and rural areas. Others who spent extended periods of time with the gospel work were Mr. John Gray, Mr. John Norris, and Mr. Robert Boyle. Over the years a number of Christians from the prairie assemblies spent their summer vacation helping, particularly with the children’s work and in visitation. In 1972 James Jr. joined in the summer gospel work and this partnership continued for over twenty years. During the day homes were visited and in the evening meetings were held for both adults and children. It was in this work of evangelism that I knew him best and he was an inspiration and example of faithfulness to all who labored with him in the gospel work.

During the last few visits with my father he spoke of this day, that is, this funeral day and he asked not to make much of his achievements but rather speak of that day, the day of Jesus Christ, speak the gospel, and remind all of the glory of heaven.

Consider three scripture references in the Psalms.

“As for God, His way is perfect: the word of the Lord is tried: He is a buckler to all those that trust in Him” (Ps 18:30). The way of the Lord is perfect. My father had a deep sensitivity to the way the Lord would lead in all the affairs of life. He often spoke of divine guidance.

The Word of the Lord is tried. The word of the Lord is proved, tested and flawless. It can be trusted.

“As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth” (Ps 103:15). All are reminded of the brevity and uncertainty of this life.

The work of the Lord is vast. Consider His vast work of creation and redemption. “All His works in all places” (v 22) and “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us” (v 12). This divine work consumed the Savior and now the human vessel. “And how shall they preach, except they be sent? As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” (Romans 10:15).

“As for me, I will behold Thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake with Thy likeness” (Psalm 17:15). To behold that beautiful face, once marred and smitten, now glorified.

“And is it so! We shall be like Thy Son,

Is this the grace which He for us has won?

Father of glory! (Thought beyond all thought)

In glory to His own blest likeness brought.” JND

We conclude that, the worship of the Lord is good. My father was a worshiper and there are many good memories of his audible worship at the Lord’s supper as one was brought to the cross and made to appreciate the person and work of the Lord Jesus.

Many have expressed in word and writing their appreciation and the family would like to say, thank you. The day of my father’s decease I received this email.

“I was just thinking. Can you imagine the reunion in Heaven? I hadn’t thought about it until tonight. I was thinking of the verse in the Psalms that says about seeing His face and being satisfied with His likeness.’ A wonderful thing that Grandpa would have been completely satisfied at seeing his Lord. I wonder if it is because of Grandpa’s likeness to Christ in his own life here on earth.”

Now we are challenged to live our life in view of that day, the day of Christ.