Some of the angels were most likely as surprised as some people when God called young Todd into ministry. He had not been expected to live beyond a few years of age, so his announcement as a teenager about becoming a minister was received with misgivings. His parents, deeply touched by his desire to serve the Lord, dismissed the notion. To them it was a dream deferred, having no chance of becoming reality. The reactions of others were much the same; they patronized him when he shared what God wanted for him. Their polite accommodations, “isn’t that nice” or “good for you”, were token responses, lacking conviction. Meanwhile, Todd trusted the Lord.
Determined to obey God, Todd sought to learn all he could about Jesus, so he could follow in His steps. He sat under learned preachers and listened to their exegesis of scripture; he spent long hours copying verse after verse from his Bible. Whenever the church doors opened, whether for Sunday service, Bible study, prayer or worship, Todd was there. If helpers were needed for any church event, Todd was there, willing to serve. When anything occurred that had to do with the church or the Lord, if he could be involved, there Todd was.
Night after night, Todd’s parents would find him in his room hunched over his Bible, praying - lifting up family, friends and fellow church members to the Lord. How fervent he was in talking to God – how faithful in remembering requests for healing, comfort, and strength.
Days were spent practicing sermons. Pacing up and down the pier by his lakeside home, arms waving, Todd would plead with his congregation, usually a flock of recalcitrant mallards or Canada geese. The name of Jesus could be heard resonating again and again off the water, booming with the passion of one who knew His grace and wanted others to know it, too. He never hesitated to share the gospel with anyone who would listen.
As the nights of devoted study and the days of loving service amassed into years, Todd showed “himself to God as one approved, a workman who did not need to be ashamed. . . “*
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At this point, most people reading this story would expect to learn that Todd did indeed fulfill God’s call by becoming a pastor, defying those who thought otherwise. So, did Todd become a minister?
No. At least, not in the sense that men reckon becoming one, because Todd has Down Syndrome, and. while he is able to function quite well in many capacities, he is not able to read, much less earn a seminary degree. But, because man looks on the outward appearance and God looks on the heart, we need to ask the question again - did Todd become a minister?
Oh, yes! Most definitely!
While Todd has no worldly credentials to be called “minister“, I call him Pastor Todd. He knows the living Word, and, although he cannot read it, he lives the Word. Like a candle yielding its tallow to show forth the Light of the world, Todd is aflame for Christ. His acts of loving service are sermons, etched into the many hearts of those of us who have been blessed by knowing him. At thirty-three, Pastor Todd continues to minister.
You can find him each Sunday morning, greeting congregation members at the church door – always with a smile, a touch of his hand or a hug. He seeks out the most needy in the flock – the widows, the infirm, the young, the old – and asks how he can pray for them. He comforts those who have lost loved ones. He visits children’s classes and shares the gospel. He lays his hands on little babies and blesses them. He amazes Bible teachers by quoting scriptural principles. When asked how he might know such things, he simply says, “it’s in the Bible.“ He has gained the love and respect of his community and his church, which recently named him as “Lifetime Deacon“.
Last Sunday he served at the Communion Table, praying the blessing – uttering soft, humble words of thankfulness for the Lord‘s sacrifice. I thought about God’s wisdom. how unsearchable it is, yet, how we can trust Him to work out His plans and purposes for His glory. I marveled at the gift God had given Todd and his response of willing obedience - that’s why I call him Pastor.
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