I took this picture on August 4th, 2007, and almost threw it away because it was out of focus. He never let me take a ‘natural’ picture, because he’d always see it coming and put on his cheezy smile. He was such a character. For those who have been following my blog for while, you know that this is Binil Samuel. And within 48 hours after the image was taken, he was killed in a hit-and-run accident in Chicago. Today would have been his 23rd birthday. It’s been almost 9 months since it happened, and there’s so much that runs through my mind. But I just wanted to share a memory.
In the spring of 2007 I started my corporate job in downtown Chicago, and Binil was interning down there as well. Within my first days there he asked to have lunch together, and it soon became a regular occurrence, both alone and with other friends downtown. Throughout the summer we would talk and share about our lives, our visions for our church, our future, our friends. It was good to have regular conversations to talk to and share openly about perspective.
As the summer drew to a close, he was planning on leaving the city for another job. But he had a vision that went much farther than basic living. He shared with me how he read this book called “Don’t Waste Your Life” by John Piper, and it really challenged him in living for more. He didn’t want to live a comfortable life…he didn’t want to simply go through the motions. He wanted to make drastic changes in the world, spreading the message of the love and saving grace of Jesus Christ beyond our general comfort zone.
He was one of the leaders of our creative arts ministry, and I remember him talking about it many times, as if it were his own child. He wasn’t able to take on the full burden of that ministry in the coming year because of other life callings, but was desperate to make sure it kept pushing through. He shared about how he wanted to do so much more with it. He wanted to evolve the ministry from being one that puts on skits for our church events, to becoming a missions based ministry, making trips to India to perform dramatic plays in areas that don’t know Jesus. And I remember I laughed, because I’m a much bigger ‘realist’ than others. But his passion encouraged me so much. He set his goals high, and the only thing I could do was encourage him to push forth…I didn’t want to be the one to quench his fire. I was so impressed with him, as even just hearing him talk and share, it moved me to really seek more and do more.
He had a vision for many years down the line, but God had different plans to bring him home sooner. Although he’s physically gone from our presence, I can honestly say that his passion still reverberates within me on a regular basis. As I say many times…there is so much more to this life than what our eyes see and perceive. I want to live with an even greater vision. I want to see this world transformed.