April, 2019 – Tad, and His Service to the Lord

April, 2019 – Tad, and His Service to the Lord

tad:  a small amount of something.  That’s the dictionary’s definition of the word ‘tad’.  But this is not the ‘tad’ I am writing about.

Several years ago when my two youngest sons were in an amazing youth group at our church in Foxboro, MA, a rather unusual fellow from the neighborhood began to show up every Sunday evening right at the time of the youth group’s weekly gathering.  He wasn’t a youth.  He was perhaps in his thirties, but that was okay.  This fellow was legally blind, legally deaf and mentally challenged.  My sons and other young fellows in the group began to embrace this seemingly ‘misfit’ – but didn’t know what to call him.  No one knew his name.  Because the fellow had a really unusual habit of wanting to show everyone the inside of his mouth with a pen-light, he became known as Flashlight Lou.  I wondered later on if somehow he was trying to express that he couldn’t speak by directing the light inside his not altogether ‘attractive opening on the lower part of his face’.  I don’t know.

Never having seen him before, my first encounter with Flashlight Lou was when I drove to the church one evening to pick up my sons after youth group.  He approached my window, bent down and did what he always did, I learned – and with his penlight, showed me inside his mouth.  Given that along with his huge coke-bottle glasses and generally, scary appearance, my heart began to pound.  I knew I was going to die.  Whoever this person was, was going to murder me.  All of a sudden I was aware of the youth director’s voice calling this person away from my car and telling him ‘not to do that’.

What I didn’t know at the time was that Flashlight Lou was perfectly harmless.  I came to know him, be concerned about him and truly appreciate him. In time, we learned from his parents that his real name was Tad   My sons and other boys in the youth group spent time with him and taught him to love Jesus – to the best of their ability – and to the best of Tad’s cognitive abilities.  I do know that one day Tad took a large piece of poster board-type of paper, drew a huge smiley face on it, went and stood in the field beside the church and held it up over his head to the heavens.  That was his way of expressing, “You make me happy, Jesus”.

One Sunday morning during the Worship music segment of the service, I looked out from the platform and there was Tad standing in one of the opened double doors with his arms reached high in praise.  On some level, he did understand the holiness/sacredness of the Triune God.  I couldn’t sing for a few minutes.  Tears were streaming down my face seeing this multi-challenged fellow expressing his love for the Lord.  It was overwhelming!

There is so much more I could write about Tad, but now comes the crux of this ‘Sharing’.  Throughout my Christian life and church experience, I have heard countless times from countless people that ‘there was nothing for them to do in the church’.  What they meant was that there was no place of service for them – that they didn’t have skills or talents to be active in the church.  I’ve learned that if one is willing there is always a place of service!  If Tad could find a place of service, then anyone could.

For quite some time, we couldn’t understand why no light bulbs in the church ever needed replacing.  Was it a miracle?  Was the Lord preserving an extra task that would have to be done?  One day it was discovered that Tad – Flashlight Lou! – was going through the huge set of buildings noticing that there was a light bulb out here and there, and for several years replaced all burned out bulbs.  Tad did this out of his own money and did the work himself – even bringing his own ladder on his bicycle.  Now there we go!  What a ministry – and a needful one! The Light Bulb Ministry!  If Tad, with his very limited capabilities, could find a place of service, then surely each of us can!  If we have a heart to serve – a willing heart – there is always going to be a place of service for us in a church.  If we have that willing heart, all we need to do is express our desire before the Lord to be part of His work in our local church.

I Peter 4:10,11 NLT  –  “God has given each of you a gift from His great variety of spiritual gifts.  Use them well to serve one another . . .  Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies.  Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ.”