Dr. Jim Shaw and the Butterfly Effect

Dr. Jim O. ShawThe essence of the butterfly effect is that one small change can make a big difference in the way things turn out.

Dr. Jim Shaw died last Wednesday, and while reading the online media tributes, I can’t stop thinking about the butterfly effect.

For those unfamiliar with Jim’s story, he is best known as the founder of Lackey Free Clinic, which provides “skilled, compassionate health care and counseling to the medically disadvantaged in a manner that honors the name of Jesus Christ.” He was also a husband, father, grandfather and respected pulmonary specialist. For their compassion and humanitarian efforts, Jim and his wife, Cooka, received the Daily Press Citizen of the Year award in 2007. Lackey Free Clinic just celebrated its 20th anniversary, racking up quite an impressive list of awards and accolades along the way.

I served with Jim as an elder in our church. He commanded respect. He was smart, humble, and determined to make a difference in this world. He was steadfast in his faith—not just in the hearing of the Word, but in the doing. Jim modeled what he read in the Bible.

If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, keep warm and eat well,” but you do not give them what the body needs, what good is it? So also faith, if it does not have works, is dead being by itself. But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith without works and I will show you faith by my works.
(James 2:15-18 NET)

Jim had a very long battle with cancer, chronicled in the links above. He fought the disease bravely, intelligently, and with conviction. He found a way to take all the pain and suffering and turn it into good in the name of Christ. Not unlike Dick Woodward.

The butterfly effect? My most profound memory of Jim is one in which, truthfully, I was a little peeved at him. It was a couple of decades ago when a group of volunteers would meet every Saturday morning to cut the grass at the Church. We saw all the comings and goings of people from the business end of our lawnmowers. Jim was one of those who kept coming. He had a lot of questions about Christianity, and he would show up Saturday mornings, Bible in hand, to meet with our senior pastor. I remember thinking, “Bill doesn’t have time to meet with this guy every Saturday. He’s got sermons to prepare and a church to pastor.”

Shows how much I know.

Chi Rho, Jim. Our community is far better off on your account, and you completely succeeded in honoring the name of Jesus Christ. We will miss you.

HT: Bill Warrick, Tuck Knupp, Lackey Clinic, Daily Press (Photo)

About John Paine

This blog is topical and devotional--we post whatever interests us, whenever. If you want to follow in an orderly fashion, please see our Kaqexeß page. View all posts by John Paine

4 responses to “Dr. Jim Shaw and the Butterfly Effect

  • Woody Perry

    Well said John, and amen to Jim’s butterfly effect.


  • Ken Petzinger

    A great tribute to a great man, John. As you said, when Jim first came to the Chapel, he was not a believer; he was a highly educated skeptic of the Christian faith. When he finally “got it” I recall him expressing his new found faith as “Jesus, plus nothing.” He knew he brought nothing to the table and look what God did with it!


  • Clarke Morledge

    Thanks, John. Jim was a follower of Veracity, and while we hate to lose him, his life serves as an example and inspiration for us all.


  • C. Richard Terman

    I met with Jim very often over the years and what testimony he was to
    God’s working in his and Cooka’s lives. Phyl and I had dinner with Jim and Cooka several weeks ago and I told him that he was a hero to me and many others. What a wonderful witness of God’s working in a person’s
    life. He is with Jesus now!


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